Pen register and trap and trace devices now generally refer to the surveillance of information about—rather than the contents of—communications. Pen registers capture outgoing data, while trap and trace devices capture incoming data. This still includes the phone numbers of incoming and outgoing telephone calls and the time, date, and length of those calls. But the government now also uses this authority to intercept the “to” and “from” addresses of email messages, records about instant message conversations, non-content data associated with social networking identities, and at least some information about the websites that you visit (it isn’t entirely clear where the government draws the line between the content of a communication and information about a communication when it comes to the addresses of websites).
For the record, I agree with the ACLU exactly one time. This is it.
Our government has taken to spying on its own citizens, that’s us, on an unprecedented level. As more and more communications go electronic it’s easier and easier to intercept. That it is done without a warrant is truly frightening. If these communications are so important then the FBI should present evidence to a judge and get a warrant.
Mind you, this is the same FBI that cannot find hundreds of guns from Fast and Furious. This is the same presidential administration that refuses to turn over records regarding those guns or the Fast and Furious catastrophe. The same administration that promised to the “the most open and transparent in history” and has proven to be just as closed and private as Dick Cheney and the Bush years.
When it comes to spying on you but keeping gov. secrets Obama = Bush.