FBI Data Requests Go Beyond Terror Suspects

Companies asked to turn over info on 'community of interest'
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2007 5:44 PM CDT
FBI building   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – US terror suspects are drawing friends and colleagues into the net, the New York Times reports. FBI docs show that probes have sought info on people who suspects call or email the most. Phone companies already keep such data on hand for marketing and fraud protection, one expert says. Such “analysis is extremely powerful and very revealing."

A recent lawsuit unveiled a dozen requests for such info over a 6-month period, although the FBI has reportedly stopped seeking it. Security advocates support the need to probe suspects' "community of interest" while privacy advocates are seeing red. “This whole concept of tracking someone’s community of interest is not part of any established F.B.I. authority,” says one lawyer.