Law Enforcement Uses Marketing Phone Data in End Run Around Search WarrantsAustin Roe
Agencies’ growing use of purchased data without warrants raises new legal questions
From the Wall Street Journal:
Zero Hedge had more to say on this new privacy concern.
But recently, these brokers have created products specifically for law enforcement. The products have “increasingly been used to screen airline passengers, find and track criminal suspects, and enforce immigration and counterterrorism laws,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Agencies that are using the data, or considering use of the data, include the Department of Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI.
Skeptics of the practice see it as akin to warrantless searches, with the Journal characterizing the practice as an “end run around the constitutional guarantees against unlawful warrantless searches”.
Legislators don’t seem to be amused about the practice. Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Rand Paul have, in response, proposed a bill called “the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act” that will require government entities to get a court order before buying U.S. cellphone data.
Jennifer Granick, the surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, commented: “Police and prosecutors never brag when they misuse capabilities like this; we only hear about the successes they want us to know about.”
The ACLU has supposed Wyden and Paul’s proposed bill. “Law-enforcement agencies should be overseen by courts when trying to obtain information on Americans—even if it is available for purchase,” the ACLU has argued.
Meanwhile, the main governing law, the Electronic Communications Privacy act, already allows companies to disclose user data in a situation where “the provider reasonably believes than an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person justifies disclosure of the information.”
Governments have throughout the ages tried to evade any restrictions on the behavior of their agents. Governments have no morals or ethics, typical of criminal syndicates. To mimic Leona Helmsley, laws are for the little people.