Conflict News from Wired News – Terror Act Has Lasting Effects. Though some of the provisions in the sweeping anti-terrorism bill will expire in 2004, many have no sunset clause and broaden police powers indefinitely.
After the president signs the measure on Friday, police will have the permanent ability to conduct Internet surveillance without a court order in some circumstances, secretly search homes and offices without notifying the owner, and share confidential grand jury information with the CIA.
Any Internet provider or telephone company must turn over customer information, including phone numbers called — no court order required — if the FBI claims the “records sought are relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism.” The company contacted may not “disclose to any person” that the FBI is doing an investigation. (Section 505)
Credit reporting firms like Equifax must disclose to the FBI any information that agents request in connection with a terrorist investigation — without police needing to seek a court order first. Current law permits this only in espionage cases. (Section 505) [Privacy Digest]