Ed Hasbrouck writes:
Is suspicionless spying on what US citizens, foreign residents, visitors to the US, and their families, friends and associates do and say on social media an “essential” function of the US government?
Federal employees deemed “inessential” have been furloughed. But those still working for deferred paychecks apparently include staff of the Department of Homeland Security, including the DHS Privacy Office, responsible for promulgating rules exempting DHS surveillance from the minimal limitations imposed by the Privacy Act.
In 2017, the DHS gave notice of a new system of social media and travel surveillance records, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Intelligence Records System (CIRS). At the same time, the DHS proposed to exempt these records from as many as possible of the requirements of the Privacy Act. The proposed exemptions would purport to authorize the DHS to include social media and other information in the CIRS database without regard to its accuracy or relevance to any investigation or suspicion of unlawful activity, and to keep these files and any recrods of how thety are used and shared secret from the individuals to whom they pertain.
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