The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Customs, Border Protection and Immigration Control agencies have ““Massive purchase of location data” from citizens’ cell phones Without a court order, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Monday.
The files, obtained by the ACLU last year through a process under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), “shed more light on the government’s ability to obtain our most private information,” the organization said in a blog post.
In 2020, The Wall Street Journal had already reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) and the Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP) Purchased without court order data to access the confidential space of citizens.
Following this publication, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to compel the agencies to protect the information.
He said the files show that DHS spent “millions of taxpayer dollars … to buy access to cell phone location information” from citizens – both US and foreign – through data sold by companies such as Ventel and Babel Street. used.
According to the ACLU, despite the US Supreme Court protecting cell phone location data from government access without a court order, a “large amount” of information was purchased.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that the location history of our cell phones reveals a lot of personal information and deserves full Fourth Amendment protection,” the ACLU’s Nathan Fried Wesler said in a statement published Monday.
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from arbitrary registration and seizure.
According to Shreya Tiwari of ACLU also the files show that The government tried to “wash away any responsibility” in the procurement. of data in cases where a court order was required.
The ACLU says the amount of confidential information DHS has is “astonishing.”
The organization cites as an example a three-day period in 2018, when files containing approximately 113,654 location points (over 26 per minute) were acquired in an uninformed region of the southwestern United States alone.
Civil liberties organizations call these documents “further evidence” that Congress needs to pass a law to end the practice.
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will investigate the government’s access to Americans’ personal data.
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