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FBI drafts stricter security letter guidelines to stop privacy breaches

[JURIST] The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] Wednesday published new draft guidelines concerning the use of national security letters (NSL) [CRS backgrounder, PDF; FBI backgrounder] to correct privacy violations [JURIST report] revealed in March by a Department of Justice review. The new guidelines, which enter into effect immediately, require FBI agents to identify the specific information being requested and justify its necessity pursuant to an investigation. Personal information obtained from NSLs will also need to be scrutinized before being entered into FBI databases to ensure only the specifically requested information is used.

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported [Washington Post report] that the FBI has committed 1,000 privacy violations since 2002, according to an internal audit. The audit, which sampled only 10% of all national security investigations conducted by the FBI, revealed that privacy regulation violations were more numerous than previously reported by the DOJ's March report. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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