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FBI Director Christopher Wray claims that Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is the agency's most important tool for combating Chinese cyber threats. Wray provided an example of how Section 702 allowed the FBI to identify and stop a Chinese hacking attempt on a US transportation hub before any damage was done. Section 702 is up for reauthorization by April 19, and the FBI is using the threat of cyberattacks by the Chinese government to argue against any changes that could hamper its surveillance capabilities. Privacy campaigners are concerned about warrantless surveillance under Section 702 that may collect the communications of US citizens.
"We were able to quickly notify the entity and share technical details, which enabled them to be able to kick the Chinese off the networks before harm could be done - before some of the more apocalyptic scenarios we've been talking about here could transpire," Wray told the House select committee hearing.
Lawmakers have the option of reauthorizing Section 702 with some changes, such as requiring warrants in certain circumstances or providing additional privacy protections. However, the FBI argues that these changes would slow down investigations. Privacy campaigners are worried about the warrantless surveillance powers granted under Section 702, as it allows for the collection and analysis of private communications of US persons without a warrant.
"Failure to reauthorize Section 702, or fo..."