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Senate OKs FBI Net Spying

WASHINGTON -- FBI agents soon may be able to spy on Internet users legally without a court order.
Senate OKs FBI Net Spying
By Declan McCullagh (declan (at) wired.com)
12:55 p.m. Sep. 14, 2001 PDT

WASHINGTON -- FBI agents soon may be able to spy on Internet users legally without a court order.

On Thursday evening, two days after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, the Senate approved the "Combating Terrorism Act of 2001," which enhances police wiretap powers and permits monitoring in more situations.

The measure, proposed by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California), says any U.S. attorney or state attorney general can order the installation of the FBI's Carnivore surveillance system. Previously, there were stiffer restrictions on Carnivore and other Internet surveillance techniques.

Its bipartisan sponsors argue that such laws are necessary to thwart terrorism. "It is essential that we give our law enforcement authorities every possible tool to search out and bring to justice those individuals who have brought such indiscriminate death into our backyard," Hatch said during the debate on the Senate floor.

Text of the Hatch-Feinstein "Combating Terrorism Act of 2001":
www.politechbot.com/docs/cta.091401.html

Muddled debate over the amendment:
www.fas.org/sgp/congress/2001/s091301.html
 
 

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