The FBI Just Gave Itself Permission to Follow You and Go through Your TrashS

The easiest way to change the rules that apply to you is to just rewrite them yourself. So the FBI's done exactly that, the NYT reports, self-releasing a new edition of its rulebook. Let's dig through some garbage, Fed bros!

The "Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide" is the FBI's big fat guide to investigative dos and don'ts. Formerly under the don't category: administer lie detector tests, go through private residential garbage, and send out "surveillance squads" without any firm evidence that the person in question might possibly be a criminal. Not anymore! This is a new, chill, laid back FBI. Who needs evidence?

Now the Feds can do all of the above as an "assessment"—basically an entirely informal version of an official investigation, allowable without any proof that anyone's up to anything illegal. So, if the FBI cares to, it can now "assess" you. By following you and going through your trashcans.

Naturally, this is raising some eyebrows! (But not too high, or else you might be the target of an assessment) Former FBI agent and current ACLU attorney Michael German says "Claiming additional authorities to investigate people only further raises the potential for abuse." Sounds about right.

But hey, there's some good news! For me. The one rule made stricter was the amount of official oversight required when investigating what the NYT describes as "prominent bloggers." Thanks guys. [NYT, Photo: Shutterstock/Peter Kim]