In an era in which “Google it!” has become an unofficial national motto, your web browsing history can reveal a lot about your most intimate interests and activities, from medical issues to political opinions to romantic preferences.

Yet, under the “business records” provision of the Patriot Act enacted after 9/11, the government may obtain such sensitive information as part of a foreign intelligence or counterterrorism investigation on the flimsiest of grounds: that the information is likely to be “relevant” to a national security investigation.

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