The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made queries into almost 3,4 million Americans between December 2020 and November 2021, the US intelligence community admitted in the annual transparency report released on Friday. The FBI said it was looking for foreign hackers, but civil libertarian groups called it an “enormous” invasion of privacy.
The FBI alone made “fewer than 3,394,053” queries of US persons in that time period, related to information collected under the controversial authority to spy on foreigners. This was the admission made in the Annual Intelligence Community Transparency Report, released on Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
The electronic data was collected legally under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the report claimed.
According to the ODNI, the number is due to “a number of large batch queries related to attempts to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure by foreign cyber actors” in the first half of 2021, which “included approximately 1.9 million query terms related to potential victims – including US persons.”