Civil Rights

Federal Warrantless Surveillance Has Increased 60% Since 2009, Says ACLU

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Federal warrantless surveillance using “pen register” and “trap and trace” technology increased by 60 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to a post published today on the American Civil Liberties Union’s Free Future blog.

Using Justice Department documents that the ACLU sued to obtain, the organization focused on federal law enforcement orders for technology that tracks incoming and outgoing phone numbers, emails and other Internet communications.

With developing technology, the ACLU notes, the government uses the tools to intercept “to” and “from” addresses on emails, record non-content data associated with social network identities and get information about what websites individuals visit.

Previously, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog notes, the surveillance in question involved small boxes that law enforcement attached to phone lines, to secretly record incoming and outgoing numbers dialed. Today the technology is built into phone companies’ hardware.

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