U.S. Government Is Buying Intimate Data About Americans - Government Report

Declassified government report confirms for the first time that U.S. intelligence agencies purchase vast amounts of commercially available information (CAI) on Americans, including data from connected vehicles, web browsing data, social media and smartphones.

U.S. Government Is Buying Intimate Data About Americans - Government Report
  • "By the U.S. government’s own admission, the data it purchases “clearly provides intelligence value,” but also “raises significant issues related to privacy and civil liberties.”
“It can be misused to pry into private lives, ruin reputations, and cause emotional distress and threaten the safety of individuals. Even subject to appropriate controls, CAI can increase the power of the government’s ability to peer into private lives to levels that may exceed our constitutional traditions or other social expectations,” the report says.
  • "Government agencies have to navigate an array of laws that often prevent them from tracking Americans without a court order or warrant. But there are few legal restrictions on private companies that buy, repackage and sell personal data, which the report calls “commercially available information” or CAI."
  • "That has allowed an entire industry of data brokers to flourish by selling very specific information about people. Agencies in the U.S. intelligence community (IC) can simply buy that information from the companies that collect it."
"The declassified report is the U.S. government’s first public disclosure revealing the risks associated with commercially available data of Americans that can be readily purchased by anyone, including adversaries and hostile nations."
  • "The United States does not have a privacy or data protection law governing the sharing or selling of Americans’ private information."

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