The program was designed to expand the power of US agencies to collect electronic “foreign intelligence information,” whether about spies, terrorists, or cybercriminals abroad, and to do so without a warrant.
- In other words, tech companies are compelled to hand over communications records like phone calls, texts, and emails to US intelligence agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NSA.
- A lot of data about Americans who communicate with people internationally gets swept up in these searches.
Despite a history of abuses by intelligence agencies, Section 702 was successfully renewed in both 2012 and 2017.
- The program, which has to be periodically renewed by Congress, is set to expire again at the end of December.