Following an increase in concerns about possible terrorist attacks overseas and possibly in the United States the Obama administration is seeking to update key surveillance tools for law enforcement. The issue could be controversial for the administration after the Bush administration sought and expanded certain law enforcement authorities after the 9/11 attacks with the USA PATRIOT act.
It is unclear how the Justice Department and FBI will seek the legal framework on the updated surveillance authority but some officials say they believe Congressional legislation will eventually be required.
The ACLU and other privacy groups have been critical of the FBI's desire to expand their surveillance authority. Last month Christopher Calabrese, ACLU Legislative Counsel said, "Under the guise of a technical fix, the government looks to be taking one more step toward conducting easy dragnet collection of Americans' most private communications."