(RightWing.org) – Two lawmakers have launched a bipartisan attempt to stop the federal government from buying personal data the Fourth Amendment bans it from collecting. They’re trying to add an attachment to a vital defense spending bill, and it’s picking up support. If the amendment is successful, it will close a major loophole in our protection against government surveillance.
In a 2018 case, Carpenter v United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Constitution’s protections against warrantless searches and seizures. The government wasn’t happy with that, though, and looked for a loophole — and found one. On June 12, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified a report which revealed the federal government has been buying exactly the type of data the Supreme Court had ruled it couldn’t collect. Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee, has already held a hearing into reports of the FBI buying data.
On July 5, Representatives Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Sara Jacobs (D-CA) announced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which Congress has to pass annually to fund the DoD. The amendment would ban the government from buying personal data on US citizens. Davidson tweeted, “Warrantless mass surveillance infringes the Constitutionally protected right to privacy,” and said the amendment would stop the government from buying data it would normally need to secure a warrant to obtain.
The data bought by government agencies includes US citizens’ search and browsing histories and location data obtained from electronic devices. This information is routinely collected by tech companies and used for product development and targeted ads, but it’s also sold to marketers. The federal government has jumped on it as a way to keep track of what citizens are doing; hopefully, Davidson and Jacobs will manage to put a stop to this.
Copyright 2023, RightWing.org