Back in 2013, a federal judge ruled that internet service providers (ISPs) could not be forced to turn over a user’s information to the FBI without first notifying that user that he/she was under investigation. Those days are over. An amendment has been made to the law that means that ISPs can no longer notify the user that they are being investigated. This prohibition also applies to financial institutions and phone carriers.
According to Ubergizmo:
The new ruling states that FBI can still issue a National Security Letter without having to immediately notify their target but it has to review the need for the letter three years after it was sent.
The FBI has also been bound to stop looking into the person’s online activities once the national security investigation has been completed.
That’s right. The subject of an FBI investigation will not know they have been investigated until three years after the probe started.
Additionally, as a part of National Security investigations, the feds can receive access to a suspect’s online purchases. Furthermore, they will be given the IP addresses of anyone that suspect has been in contact with.
Many see this as a violation of people’s first amendment rights. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (a digital rights group) is looking into options to appeal the court’s ruling. EFF staff attorney Andrew Crocker said, “Our position, in general, is when an ISP gets an NSL, they should tell the user so that they can contest that request.”