With Donald Trump now poised to take on his new role as president of the country, and the Republicans holding the majority position in Congress, intelligence agencies such as the FBI, CIA and NSA are expected to receive new intel-gathering powers under the incoming administration.
Through expanded surveillance methods, these agencies will be able to successfully carry out the necessary steps to solve crimes and even prevent wide-scale attacks on the public.
Possibly spearheading the program for new surveillance powers are Senator Jeff Sessions and Representative Mike Pompeo of the Republican Party. These two are the primary candidates for the respective positions of Attorney General and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Bloomberg.
Under their leadership, the Trump administration is expected to enact high-level spying techniques. These include the collection and analysis of telephone records, electronic messages and other personal online data, which privacy advocates have deemed controversial.
Despite the opposition that the next administration is expecting to face regarding these non-conventional surveillance methods, Sessions and Pompeo are determined to enact them under Trump’s leadership.
As they pointed out, the collection of personal data has now become a fundamental tool in preventing attacks and safeguarding the public.
Specifically, many lone-wolf attacks in the country and abroad were coordinated by small groups of people using encrypted communication to plan out their strategies and amass weapons. If agencies have access to this data, then their response to these kinds of attacks would be faster.
For instance, during the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015, the Muslim perpetrators, communicated using an Apple mobile device. However, the investigations by the FBI on the matter were hampered by Apple, which resisted a court warrant seeking to unlock its encrypted communications software.
Under the Trump administration, the CIA, FBI, NSA and other law enforcement agencies will be able to have power over tech companies and service providers when accessing encrypted data and personal information related to a crime or potential threat.