Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) speaks with reporters as he walks to a vote at the U.S. Capitol July 18, 2022.Photo: Francis Chung (AP)
The matter of warrantless location tracking by law enforcement has recently drawn the ire of several powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill — namely, Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Bennie Thompson, the chairs of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, respectively. Last month, the two congressmen sent demand letters to several federal agencies, including the Justice Department, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security, asking for details about their purchasing of commercially available data.
“While law enforcement investigations necessitate some searches, improper government acquisition of this data can thwart statutory and constitutional protections designed to protect Americans’ due process rights,” the congressmen said.
Others lawmakers, such as Sen. Ron Wyden, have led the charge to ban the practice, introducing and supporting legislation including the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act and the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act, both of which would effectively ban law enforcement from purchasing location data and require a warrant or court order instead.
What’s more, there’s an ongoing effort to stop agencies under the Department of Defense’s umbrella from doing the same. These include nine separate intelligence components, including the National Security Agency. Each branch of the military’s service has its own intelligence office, and there’s a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers interested in reining in those offices’ capabilities to track Americans’ cell phones — a practice they admit they can’t even confirm is occuring.
In a statement, the EFF said: “The biggest thing we can all do is put pressure on Congress and the states to protect our privacy. It’s up to lawmakers to act fast to flip the switch and forbid government entities from buying geolocation data sold on the open market.”
Source by gizmodo.com