On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for companies to turn over Internet data to the FBI without a warrant. The words "electronic communication transactional records" might not sound like much, but if added to an amended Electronic Communications Privacy Act, would allow the FBI access to "addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history", without a judge's approval.
The scope of data that can be gathered is unprecedented. It almost makes the NSA's warrantless telephone surveillance program, approved by the Bush administration, seem quaint.
The ACLU is part of a diverse coalition (called Digital Due Process) of privacy advocates, major companies and think tanks that are working to urge reform of ECPA to protect electronic communications and associated data from just what the Obama administration is doing.
As the release of Howard Zinn's FBI file makes clear, we should never assume that because our actions are lawful they are beyond government scrutiny.