Antiterrorism law broadens e-mail tracking

Antiterrorism law broadens e-mail tracking

The sweeping antiterrorism act signed last month by President Bush expands government's wiretapping and electronic surveillance authority.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said he would order agents to begin using the new powers at once to track suspected terrorists electronically.

The act gives agencies greater latitude to eavesdrop but also sets reporting requirements for accountability in monitoring e-mail and other Internet communications.

Under the new law, law enforcement organizations can get court orders to tap all phones used by a suspect and to seize voice-mail messages. Similar monitoring and recovery of target e-mail messages and tracking Internet use are permitted. Investigators also have expanded power to surreptitiously search and copy data from a suspect's computer.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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