Nov 182021
 November 18, 2021  Posted by  Govt, Surveillance, U.S.

An OpEd by former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman and former Senator Mark Udall writes, in part:

The IRS, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies have been purchasing our personal data from data brokers, an unregulated industry that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has termed “shady.” The Defense Intelligence Agency admitted to Wyden in January that it disregards a Supreme Court finding that the government cannot access our location data from apps and brokers without a warrant. The government claims that as long as it buys our data rather than seizing it, such snooping on us is perfectly legal.

This sets the law on its head. The United States was founded, in large measure, out of anger over the intrusive searches and seizures of Americans’ personal information by officious agents of the British crown. That is why the Fourth Amendment requires the government to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before it can examine our “persons, houses, papers, and effects.” Only a government lawyer could add to that, “unless we buy it!”


The Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act, sponsored in the House by Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, and in the Senate by Wyden and Rand Paul, would close major loopholes in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They ask why, if under current law the government cannot compel tech and phone companies to disclose our information without a court order, should purchases from data brokers be treated any differently.

Read more on The New York Daily News.


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