By now, everyone should know that the National Security Agency is listening to and recording everything we say, type, or search on computers and smartphones. The data the NSA collected was to be used against terrorism, but big surprise, it’s used for a lot more than terrorism. There were provisions to the Patriot Act that not everyone knew about. The most concerning provision is the ability to “sneak-and-peek.” This provision allows investigators to essentially spy on their suspects without their knowledge. The public was told that this was necessary to protect against terrorism.
The National Security Agency’s data is now being shared with other intelligence agencies. These agencies, such as the FBI, can access the data without any kind of applications or explaining why they need to access it. If the FBI should find something of interest, they can pass it on to local or state police. The NSA’s database, which was said to be used purely towards terrorism, is being used for common crimes. There are more and more “sneak-and-peek” investigations every year. In 2014 there were 12,806; it would be hard to believe that all of those are terrorism related. In fact, less than 1% of Patriot Act “sneak and peek” warrants have been used for terrorism purposes; and have instead been largely used for drug investigations. Now, in fact, there are even state bills (such as in Virginia) in process that give police the same broad Patriot Act powers as given to the FBI to “sneak and peek.” Unfortunately, the issue has been neglected, especially in recent years, by the corporate media.
Kenric Ward, “‘Sneak and peek’ bill rolls quietly through General Assembly,” Virginia Watchdog.org, February 4, 2015.
“How the USA-Patriot Act Expands Law Enforcement “Sneak and Peek” Warrants,” ACLU,”https://www.aclu.org/how-usa-patriot-act-expands-law-enforcement-sneak-and-peek-warrants
Student Researcher: Victoria Lounds, Indian River State College
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D. Indian River State College