Congress Seeks To Block Fed Agencies Buying Americans’ Data

The House Judiciary Committee aims to stop the federal government from buying citizens’ personal information. This follows revelations from the intelligence community that it shares data with brokers who sell information gleaned from people’s automobiles, mobile phones, and other gadgets. 

On Wednesday, the committee passed the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act without any opposition. They disagreed with the FBI because they believed various government entities violated Americans’ right to privacy by skirting the Constitution.

Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) met because of shared concerns about government monitoring in the United States.

According to Mr. Biggs’s testimony before a judicial committee, data brokers are selling the personal information of Americans to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which then search this information without warrants and oversight. The legislative branch is responsible for keeping the legislation current and filling in any loopholes that may appear over time. 

Mr. Biggs claims that the FBI, IRS, DHS, DEA, and CDC are federal agencies that buy information about American citizens.

The bill that made it out of the judiciary committee would compel agencies to get a court order before collecting data from data brokers, just like they have to get one before collecting data from phone and tech firms. 

Legislators recently questioned FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on the topic of government agents’ purchases of location data. Specifically, Rep. Zoe Lofgren sought clarification on this issue.

The California Democrat wants to know if, without a warrant, the FBI is purchasing commercially available location data. 

Mr. Wray said he needed more information to give a complete answer. He ordered his team to contact the user again for the necessary details.

The FBI has not followed up, as Ms. Lofgren said they would on Wednesday.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) were frustrated by Mr. Wray’s dodging of their questions. 

Ohio’s Representative Jim Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said his Republican colleagues are just as eager to pass a bill restricting government spying on its citizens as he is.