18 February 2008
Add another privacy threat to the list of things you can do nothing about:
A technical glitch gave the F.B.I. access to the e-mail messages from an entire computer network â€” perhaps hundreds of accounts or more â€” instead of simply the lone e-mail address that was approved by a secret intelligence court as part of a national security investigation, according to an internal report of the 2006 episode.
The episode is an unusual example of what has become a regular if little-noticed occurrence, as American officials have expanded their technological tools: government officials, or the private companies they rely on for surveillance operations, sometimes foul up their instructions about what they can and cannot collect.
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