If the FBI can snoop on the nation’s top spy, we don’t have a chance.
Technology has transformed communications much faster than the law, giving U.S. authorities at all levels the power to routinely search reams of intimate emails, texts and instant messages, with much lower burdens of proof as far as the relevance to a criminal case.
Often, the subjects of electronic searches never know that they’ve been hit, let alone why…
The FBI, which has broad authority over cybercrimes from identity fraud to online stalking, can gather technical information about private citizens’ email accounts with only a subpoena.
The subpoena in theory must not be overly burdensome on the recipient, but otherwise has few limits. Subpoenas can be drafted by a senior FBI agent or equivalent and do not require a judge’s approval. They are common in grand jury investigations and other probes of crimes involving multiple parties.