Memo: Defense Intel Agency Purchased Smartphone Location Data Without Warrant

Memo: Defense Intel Agency Purchased Smartphone Location Data Without Warrant

The Defense Intelligence Agency’s analysts have bought databases containing the location data from Americans’ smartphones five times in the last two years without warrants, according to recently released documents obtained by The New York Times.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday released a memo he received from the DIA clarifying its actions after he sent the agency multiple questions about whether their analysts operated under the assumption that the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States allows them to purchase the databases through a third-party broker without a warrant, rather than obtain them from the phone company.

”DIA currently provides funding to another agency that purchases commercially available geolocation metadata aggregated from smartphones,” and separates the U.S. location data, according to the memo, which also states that the agency ”does not construe the Carpenter decision to require a judicial warrant endorsing purchase or use of commercially-available data for intelligence purposes.”

Ashley Gorski, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in response to the memo that Congress must intervene and prevent the government from buying Americans’ data.

“The government cannot simply buy our private data in order to bypass bedrock constitutional protections,” she said in a statement on Friday, according to The Hill. “Congress must end this lawless practice and require the government to get a warrant for our location data, regardless of its source.”

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