For some, the manual raised concerns about the vague rules for initiating a category of FBI activity known as an “assessment,” which stops short of a preliminary or full-scale investigation. Assessments “require an authorized purpose but not any particular factual predication,” but the newly released FBI manual acknowledges that the standard is “difficult to define.”

“That’s not a reassuring basis on which to be poking into people’s private lives,” said David Sobel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online privacy group.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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