US senator, opposing FBI email data grabs, places hold on spy bill

WASHINGTON - A Democratic senator on Monday prevented legislation from being quickly considered that would expand the FBI's power to use secretive surveillance orders to obtain some Internet records, arguing it would lead to a "dramatic erosion" of US privacy rights.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon placed a hold on the annual Intelligence Authorization Act, which grants congressional approval for clandestine operations carried out by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies.

A provision of the authorization bill would allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use national security letters, which do not require a warrant, to compel companies such as Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook to hand over certain Internet records. These would include email metadata, some browsing history and social media log-in information.