An anonymous reader writes "The Washington Post reports that the FBI has drastically increased its use of National Security Letters (NSL), which permit it to collect information without judicial oversight. According to the article, the use of NSLs is up by a factor of 100, and the records are kept forever (in the past they were thrown away if the subject was cleared). Deep in the article, the author reports that NSLs were used to collect records '[...] of every hotel guest, everyone who rented a car or truck, every lease on a storage space, and every airplane passenger who landed in [Las Vegas]' for a two week period, in response to a terrorism threat in 2003. Those records, apparently, will be kept forever by the federal government. There's an ombudsman, and a procedure to resolve complaints, but the mere existence of an NSL is secret, so it's not clear how anyone can complain!
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