FBI Searching Your Data What Do They Hope to Find?

Data Transparency - Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

FBI Conducted Potentially Millions of Searches of Americans’ Data Last Year, Report Says – The Wall Street Journal

A large concerning number of warrantless searches took place in the offices of the FBI over the last year, totaling 3.4 million, according to an annual transparency report stemming from the Office of the Director of National Intel on Friday.  The information does not directly say the FBI acted improperly. It simply lacks clarity on what they were searching for and why they were searching for it.  Outside speculation ties a bulk of the search activity to cyber attacks and cyber crimes stemming from overseas; however, the searches were conducted on American data.  The report indicates that 1.9 million searches were related to an attributed Russian cyberattack on U.S. critical infrastructure.

The FBI can search an individual’s email address, name, and any online or offline identifier and see correlated results; multiple hits can count as more than one query.  Sometimes the FBI queries hundreds of terms looking for one person or item of interest, which can count as individual data searches.

Americans will be interested in more transparency on this functionality and what it means for general privacy rights.  Do you have any privacy online, or is it simply a myth that helps us sleep at night?

Read more on this story at the following additional news sources:

  1. FBI Conducted Potentially Millions of Searches of Americans’ Data Last Year, Report Says  The Wall Street Journal
  2. National Security Surveillance on U.S. Soil Dropped Again in 2021, Report Says  The New York Times
  3. FISA court orders drop sharply amid pandemic  The Washington Post
  4. Intel report states FBI conducted nearly 2 million searches of US data related to cyberattacks in 2021  CNN
  5. FBI Searched the Data of Millions of Americans Without Warrants  Bloomberg
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News
John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.