- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The FBI said that it needs the ability to collect the metadata of millions of Americans because suspected terrorists are digitally “going dark” like never before.

Robert Anderson, the FBI’s chief of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, recently told reporters that a key provision of the Patriot Act that will expire June 1 needs to be renewed due to the pace of technological change.

“In the last two to three years, that whole ‘going dark’ thing went from a crawl to a flat-out sprint because the technology is changing so rapidly,” Mr. Anderson said, the technology website Ars Technica reported Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: FBI digital search-warrant plan a ‘monumental’ constitutional threat, says Google

The provision in question is Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the civil liberties watchdog the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in January allows “the U.S. government to vacuum up the call records of millions of innocent people.”

Joseph Demarest, assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division, echoed Mr. Anderson’s sentiments, saying “Obviously it’s going to impact what we do as an organization and certainly on cyber,” Ars Technica reported.

Congress last approved the re-authorization of Section 215 three years ago, the website reported.

The debate over the Patriot Act comes just over one week after Google submitted court documents saying the FBI’s new plans for obtaining digital search warrants is a “monumental” constitutional threat.

National Journal reported last week that the federal government wants to make changes to a criminal procedure provision known as Rule 41, which would allow judges to approve warrants outside their jurisdictions.

“The serious and complex constitutional concerns implicated by the proposed amendment are numerous and, because of the nature of Fourth Amendment case law development, are unlikely to be addressed by courts in a timely fashion,” Mr. Salgado wrote.

The Justice Department called the company’s fears a “misreading the text of the proposal or misunderstanding current law,” the magazine reported.

A decision on Rule 41 is expected to be made within months after a review by the Supreme Court and Congress.

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