The US Government Is Buying And Storing Data On Its Citizens
The US government has been secretly gathering a “large amount” of “sensitive and intimate information” on American citizens, per a report that has recently been declassified. The report, which was sent to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines by her senior advisers, provides an alarming account of the government’s data collection activities.
“This report reveals what we feared most. Intelligence agencies are flouting the law and buying information about Americans that Congress and the Supreme Court have made clear the government should not have,” Sean Vitka, a policy attorney at Demand Progress, said to Wired.
Through its purchase of data from commercial brokers, the government asserted it can routinely snoop on the phones of millions of Americans without a warrant. This move circumvents Fourth Amendment protections, which generally requires a warrant to conduct such surveillance.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden manifested some concerns about the government’s recent actions: “If using a credit card to buy an American’s personal information voids their Fourth Amendment rights, then traditional checks and balances for government surveillance will crumble.”
In a similar vein, privacy advocates are calling for a significant overhaul of what is considered “publicly available information.” The report’s advisers are not fans of the status quo, calling attention to how commercially sold data currently is “more revealing, available on more people, less possible to avoid, and less well understood” in comparison to regular public information.
The report warns about the potential malicious use of the data being gathered. Such data could be potentially used for blackmail, public shaming, and stalking. Chris Baumohl, a legal fellow at EPIC, declared, “This report makes it clear that the government continues to think it can buy its way out of constitutional protections using taxpayers’ own money.”
This is just another sign of how rogue the permanent bureaucracy has become when it comes to the civil liberties of Americans. This permanent bureaucracy is not a benign entity in the slightest. These agencies must ultimately be abolished if we want to enjoy any semblance of freedom.