The FBI has quite a history of abusing its powers in spying on people. Over the past few years, revelations of massive abuses
of the National Security Letter (NSL) process to get info on people without proper oversight, has showed how agents will quite frequently go beyond what is legal to obtain info on people. So it seems quite troubling to find out that the FBI is adapting its manual for agents, known as "The Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide," to let agents do electronic lookups on people
without first justifying the reasons.
Under current rules, agents must open such an inquiry before they can search for information about a person in a commercial or law enforcement database. Under the new rules, agents will be allowed to search such databases without making a record about their decision.
We've seen over and over and over again, when people have access to giant databases of info (especially in the government) without clear tracking or oversight, that data gets abused. Allowing FBI agents to search willy nilly is a recipe for widespread abuse.