CLOSER LOOK: The FBI has used special authority to compel Internet firms to hand over user information, including full browsing histories, according to a court filing released Monday. “The documents are believed to be the first time the government has provided details of its so-called national security letters, which are used by the FBI to conduct electronic surveillance without the need for court approval. The filing made public Monday was the result of an 11-year-old legal battle waged by Nicholas Merrill, founder of Calyx Internet Access, a hosted service provider, who refused to comply with a national security letter (NSL) he received in 2004,” Reuters reports. “National security letters have been available as a law enforcement tool since the 1970s, but their frequency and breadth expanded dramatically under the USA Patriot Act, which was passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. They are almost always accompanied by an open-ended gag order barring companies from disclosing the contents of the demand for customer data.”

HEARING TUESDAY: An e-mail privacy bill with wide support will receive a House hearing on Tuesday, though plans for a markup are still unclear. “The Email Privacy Act — led by Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) — has failed to move in the past two and a half years despite having support from a supermajority of the chamber. Supporters have opted against attempting to force a vote through a discharge petition,” The Hill reports. “The legislation would close a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) that lets the government use a subpoena, rather than a warrant, to force companies such as Google and other service providers to hand over customers’ electronic communications if they are more than 180 days old.”

SHOPPING SEASON: Americans are expected to spend considerable funds on technology this holiday season. “According to the Consumer Technology Association, the trade group behind the annual CES tech trade show, there were 56.9 million people who planned to buy tech products ahead of what the firm calls ‘2015 Black Friday Week.’ That spans from the Monday before Thanksgiving to ‘Cyber Monday,'” The Post reports. “The group’s survey of more than 1000 respondents found that there were some new types of products — namely wearable devices and set-top boxes — on shopper’s lists this year. ‘For the first time, emerging tech products such as fitness activity trackers and digital streaming devices broke into the top ten most-purchased tech products over the holiday shopping week,’ said Shawn DuBravac, the group’s chief economist in a statement.”