The American public may have a legitimate reason to start worrying when it comes to how the federal government spies on its citizens. According to The Washington Post the FBI conducts a substantial amount of warrantless investigation via Americans’ emails and phone calls in a special database of intercepted communications. A letter sent to Senator Ron Wyden states that thousands of Americans were targets of a “backdoor” warrantless surveillance initiative by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. 

It was noted that Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the government to collect intel on foreign targets that are believed to be outside of U.S. grounds at the time of collection. However, it isn’t allowed to target people within the United States or reverse target someone outside of the U.S in the hopes that they can target someone in the U.S.

The term “backdoor” refers to the information collected under Section 702 that may inadvertently collect intelligence of U.S. citizens. According to the letter sent to the senator, the NSA has used these queries to search communications of 198 U.S. people in 2013. It also made 9,500 metadata queries in the time frame.

Essentially using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the NSA along with the CIA and FBI are able to search and read the content of communications of Americans. Although this may not sit well with many Americans, the federal government is fully within their rights to pursue these queries as per the laws instated by the act.

 

[via Tech Crunch