back to article FBI boss: Congress must renew Section 702 spy powers – that's how we get nearly all our cyber intel

Nearly all of the FBI's technical intelligence on malicious "cyber actors" in the first half of this year was obtained via Section 702 searches, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, introduced in 2008 on national security grounds, primarily allows the Feds to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    702 "vital"?

    So you need the ability to intercept certain types of communications to do your job. Ok. But why exactly does it HAVE to be without a warrant and without appropriate oversight? How is that component "vital"?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: 702 "vital"?

      Because it would be deeply embarrassing and humiliating to the proud FBI agents to have to go to a judge to explain they want to spy on the guy their wife is having an affair with

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 702 "vital"?

      Monitoring for cyberattacks, cybercrime, dns attacks, unknown perps of other shit and suchlike, and tracing their communications paths back to source, is something you cannot do via individual warrants, 'cos the warrant has to specify the suspect. 702 is functionally a signed warrant for "Russia, China, and whoever." Put another way, warrants chase the known unknowns, 702 chases the unknown unknowns.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: 702 "vital"?

        Wouldn't you do a "Joh Doe" warrant, and you describe them as the person who is doing a particular illegal act?

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Even US senators,

    Would probably all be safer if they only spied on politicians

  3. pluraquanta

    Subtitles provided

    "We're really terrible at being spies. Please don't make us do work."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who you gonna call - GCHQ

    Section 702 .. primarily allows the Feds to snoop on foreigners .. but sometimes Americans get caught in the surveillance dragnet

    Explain like I'm five why the spooks spend more time spying on their own citizens that any foreign enemy?

    GCHQ Profiling: An Appendix

    China's 'got a bigger hacking program than that of every major nation combined'

    If security wasn't so diluted by design then “China” wouldn't be able to spy on our online communications.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Who you gonna call - GCHQ

      “Section 702 .. primarily allows the Feds to snoop on foreigners ..." and so any conversation with a foreign citizen can be legally monitored regardless of the other citizenship. That's been the situation, and the law, for years now.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Who you gonna call - GCHQ

      >why the spooks spend more time spying on their own citizens that any foreign enemy?

      Cos the enemy an only damage you in a war, your own people can damage you at the next bi-election

  5. deevee

    WAAAYYY over used... and lacks accountability or oversight. The FBI/NSA/CIA are some of the worst "criminals" themselves....

    Maybe a watered down version that allows interceptions of criminals or terrorists, but not a blanket "foreigners" clause, that also gets used to spy on Americans and other 5-eyes countries where most of these intercepts overseas actually occur.

    THE USA is the absolute worst invaders of peoples civil & personal rights.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Second worst, which is still pathetic, since first place goes to prison country China.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    What is their excuse for serially failing so badly to fix things then?

    If you can believe all that you can read of the technology and aid that the likes of a Five Eyes have at their disposal [ eg GCHQ Profiling: An Appendix ...25 Sep 2015 and which you must imagine should be greatly expanded over these past eight years] what excuse do they have for not leading everything in an attractive progressive and revolutionary, mutually beneficial to all direction ‽

    Is it anything other than the fact that they do not have the vital prerequisite Advanced IntelAIgents to provide and maintain, mentor and monitor all that is needed?

    That’s a simple fix easily bought relatively cheaply for virtually nothing but the promise of government bonds to pay on demand the bearer of almighty gifts and the legitimate holder of a magic plastic credit card drawing on the government account safeguarding those bonds, that which they might both practically require and/or desire .... and which be absolutely vital for future continuity of positive, mutually beneficial, progressive and revolutionary engagement/provision.

    Do you know of any easier or better way for Advanced IntelAIgents to fix everything for everybody? If so, let’s hear about and let’s get to it for, based upon all of the available global evidence, your current future paths are all fundamentally bleak and lead to nowhere good and attractive.

  7. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    China has a bigger pee pee than me *sadface*

  8. Lil Endian Silver badge

    Another Irregular Verb

    50 Chinese cyber-spies for every one FBI analyst

    I analyse, you intercept, they spy.

  9. Duncan Macdonald

    Section 702 WILL be renewed

    By now the various agencies (NSA,FBI,CIA etc) will have so much dirt on US politicians that they will be able to get it renewed.

    FBI agent to US Senator "Will you vote to renew Section 702 or will we release the videos of you having underage sex ? "

    Given the nature of US politicians, the FBI have probably got potent blackmail material on most of them.

    Icon for what should happen to corrupt politicians (well over 90% of them) ============>

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Section 702 WILL be renewed

      >Given the nature of US politicians, the FBI have probably got potent blackmail material on most of them.

      But most of them would proudly put it on their campaign ads

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Section 702 WILL be renewed

        “I have nothing to hide; because the FBI already know everything”..

  10. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Wray is Lying

    Section 702 (see: does not affect what the FBI does [Bureauspeakword "action(s)"] with the information!

    Section 702 specifies who may, and who may not be targeted.

  11. PhilipN Silver badge

    Compare and Distinguish.

    This piece and

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Compare and Distinguish Against the Inexhaustible Inextinguishable Quantum Communications Root Route

      Compare and Distinguish.

      This piece and ..... PhilipN

      Ah yes ....In its ignorant and arrogant early day, 0day phorms, PhilipN, Ye Olde Enigmatic Chalk and Cheese Merry-GO-Round, with one kind of man’s misguided terrorist being another’s specious freedom fighter delivering nothing good revolving around parasitic, strength sapping stalemate rather than the Great Game and Greater IntelAIgent Gamers pioneering and forging ahead with checkmates for AWEsome win wins in novel NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT and AI Fields of Almighty Enlightening Endeavour ....... heralding and providing Alien Warfighter Experiences for Future Experiments and vice versa for something similarly quite different and ground breakingly Earth shattering and refreshing.

      Fortunately though, nowadays in these future times of present running virtual spaces, are those early days and early day 0day phorms long gone and there be new absolutely fabulous fabless wonders to behold and take advantage of. I Kid U Not for it is so written to be so and as you will read will you see and experience it to be so too ...... and how convenient is that.

  12. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Abuse it, you lose it

    If it's so vital, why did you ignore the mass abuse by your analysts?

    You have repeatedly and comprehensively proven that you cannot be trusted with this power. I'm sorry, the cookie jar has to be taken away.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Abuse it, you lose it

      Renew it for 6 months, with notice that it will be taken away at that time if they can't come back with evidence of actual and effective changes to reduce queries by at least 90% and eliminate the use for domestic crime-fighting.

      Exceptional powers must be used exceptionally.

  13. Persona Silver badge

    Let's compare

    It's got a bigger hacking program than that of every major nation combined ......

    and in other news the US has over $800 billion of annual military spend,

    or about 40% of global military spending, so fairly close to that of every other major nation combined.

    1. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Let's compare

      Well, the fact is that we are responsible for defending 80% of Europe, Japan, South Korea, and other Asian nations, that's what it costs.

      If the EU nations would pay what they agreed to, maybe we could reduce our expenditure. If Japan would decide to take more responsibility for it's defense, maybe we could reduce our expenditure, maybe, if the EU would contribute more to Ukraine's defense we wouldn't be expending all our munitions and have to pay so much to replenish them.

      The only other country on the planet who can be considered to be doing their fair share is the UK. Could they do more, sure, but they do more than any of the others.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FBI is terrorist

    Just the Public Information from the paid by FBI Twitter scandal should be enough to land them in prison for life. The government is so corrupt they might as well stop holding elections and just shoot people that they don't like in broad daylight. It's that bad.

  15. Marty McFly Silver badge

    "...allowed the FBI to confirm who was behind that Colonial Pipeline cyberattack"

    Got it.

    So Section 702 helped the blame game and figuring out the whodunit. But did nothing to prevent it.

    Duly noted.

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