F.B.I. Giving Agents New Powers in Revised Manual. ACLU report on profiling (PDF) A.C.L.U. Releases F.B.I. Documents on Ethnic and Religious Groups. When Did It Become Legal to Spy on Americans? - Emily Berman - Politics. Congress and the public should demand more oversight of changing FBI rules on domestic surveillance It just got easier for the federal government to collect information about innocent Americans -- and those Americans have had surprisingly little say in the matter. On October 15, the FBI reportedly implemented new rules that relax restrictions on, and oversight of, the FBI's intelligence collection activities. Although they are not available to the public, reports indicate the changes permit FBI agents to search an individual's trash with the goal of finding material that might pressure him into becoming a government informant, grant agents the authority to search commercial or law enforcement databases without first opening an investigation, and reduce the type of investigations subjected to heightened oversight because of their relationship to protected First Amendment expression, association, or religious practice.
But these rules were not implemented in uniform fashion.