Congressman Biggs Asks FBI to Provide Information on Latest FBI Section 702 Abuses
February 16, 2023
In a letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, Congressman Andy Biggs requested that the FBI provide information relating to a recent government audit revealing that the FBI had abused its access to FISA Section 702 databases. Rep. Biggs emphasized that “these instances should frighten every American and Congress deserves an explanation for them.” He asked the FBI to provide information on several of the abuses highlighted in the audit, including queries of Section 702 databases for the name of a U.S. congressman and a local political party. Rep. Biggs also asked the FBI to report back on any discipline and remedial steps taken by the agency in response to these abuses.
For years, EPIC has advocated for a ban on warrantless backdoor searches, arguing that the FBI’s query and use Section 702 data in routine criminal investigations entirely unrelated to national security without a warrant—or even an individualized court order—raises Fourth Amendment concerns. Most recently, in response to the latest revelations of FBI abuses, EPIC renewed its call for serious reform of Section 702. Previously, EPIC urged the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to recommend prohibiting warrantless backdoor searches and has joined a coalition of civil liberties groups proposing broader reform to Section 702. EPIC is also committed to increasing transparency around the FBI’s Section 702 activities. In EPIC v. NSD, EPIC obtained a report containing important information about the FBI’s use of Section 702 authority.
EPIC recently published an overview of Section 702 as part of a new blog series focused on explaining Section 702 and the need to reform it.