President-elect Donald Trump could expand a vast surveillance state that has already been greatly expanded under former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama.
Trump's decision to tap Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama for attorney general and Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of California for director of the Central Intelligence Agency awards two fierce proponents of government spying on American citizens.
An “already over-powerful surveillance state” will be “be let loose on the American people,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, an internet and privacy advocacy organization, according to Bloomberg.
But much of the vast powers government has over U.S. citizens was implemented before Trump is sworn in.
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For example, an Obama-approved rule that allows the FBI get permission from a judge in one jurisdiction to hack into multiple computers wherever they may be is set to go into effect Dec. 1.
“Under the proposed rules, the government would now be able to obtain a single warrant to access and search thousands or millions of computers at once; and the vast majority of the affected computers would belong to the victims, not the perpetrators, of a cybercrime,” Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.
Back in February, the Obama administration made it easier for the National Security Agency to share information with other government agencies, an agenda first set forth by the Bush administration beforehand.
The program was criticized by civil liberties advocates.
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“Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans’ information,” said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, according to The New York Times.