NSA and CIA warrantless searches of citizen data doubled in two years

Server room

The US government shows no sign of slowing down its warrantless data searches of US citizens. In the last two years, the number of searches made by the NSA and CIA doubled to 4,672 from roughly 2,100 conducted in 2013.

A new transparency report from The Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed specific numbers about how many searches were made. What triggered the spike in searches is unclear, as the data accounts for "recurring queries," which may or may not have been accounted for in 2013's numbers.

The rise in data requests is a growing concern for privacy advocates who claim US citizens are protected by the Constitution against warrantless searches.

The database of information comes from the bulk surveillance program Edward Snowden exposed in late 2012.

Shady business

The bulk data collection is authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows monitoring and data collection from digital communications going in and out of the US.

This includes data from tech companies like Google, Facebook and many others.

Frustratingly, the FBI's searches are exempt from these numbers, as the USA Freedom Act, passed in June 2015, exempts the bureau from disclosing when it queries the database.

On top of that, the figures may be incomplete as the number of searches only accounts for people who were verified as US citizens before the query was made, discounting queries made after the fact.

Via The Intercept

Lewis Leong
Lewis Leong is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He has an unhealthy obsession with headphones and can identify cars simply by listening to their exhaust notes.