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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: FBI gets personal data from banks and universities, too

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from Mashable.

In a not-at-all-shocking revelation, the New York Times reports the FBI has been using secret subpoenas to collect data from more than just big tech companies. 

Documents show the subpoenas — which can include requests for usernames, locations, IP addresses, and purchase records — were sent to credit agencies including Experian and Equifax, numerous banks such as Bank of America and Chase, and even universities, including Kansas State.

Previously, Twitter, Google, Facebook, and Apple publicly acknowledged getting the requests, known as National Security Letters, via transparency reports. Telecom companies such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon have done the same. 

The Times obtained the documents via the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which had filed (and won) a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI over the bureau’s “gag orders issued with National Security Letters (NSLs).” 

The subpoenas, allowed under expansions to the Patriot Act, are part of the FBI’s counter-terrorism efforts and the bureau and the Department of Justice have argued that the secrecy of such documents is necessary so as not to tip-off suspects about how data on them is being collected.

The EFF reports over 500,000 have been issued since 2001, but few have been made public due to the gag orders.

SEE ALSO: Hey, internet companies: Pay attention to the FBI’s new take on conspiracy theories

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Congress passed the USA Freedom Act in 2015, which was supposed to limit these kinds of investigations, including the gag orders issued by the FBI. Yet the new documents appear to show that the FBI, as EFF attorney Andrew Crocker told the Times, isn’t “taking its obligations under USA Freedom seriously.” 

The DOJ offered no comment .

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠