Terrorism: Internet Privacy: Law Enforcement Monitoring of E-Mail and Web Usage [Updated July 14, 2004] [open pdf - 166KB]
"To what extent should law enforcement officials be permitted to monitor Internet usage, including electronic mail and website visits, and how have the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 affected this debate? In response to the terrorist attacks, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act), P.L. 107-56. The Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296) amends that Act, expanding the circumstances under which Internet Service Providers can voluntarily divulge information about subscribers, and to whom. The 108th Congress is monitoring how law enforcement and other government officials use the new authorities they have been given. Attorney General Ashcroft released a report on July 13, 2004, summarizing how the Justice Department is implementing the Act. Some of the Act's provisions are subject to a December 31, 2005, sunset clause, including several of the Internet-related sections S.1695 (Leahy) and S.1709 (Craig) would sunset more of the sections, while S.2476 (Kyl) would repeal the sunset clause."
CRS Report for Congress, EBTER135