U.S. federal agencies including the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have been purchasing access to large databases of phone location data and hiding their motives in what Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) described as “warrantless surveillance” of Americans.
In a Thursday letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Wyden called on Austin to declassify all answers about the Department of Defense’s data collection practices. Wyden noted that of eight questions he raised with the DoD, he received unclassified answers to three questions, while the answers to the five remaining questions were offered in a classified manner.
“In February 2020, media reports revealed that U.S. government agencies are buying location data obtained from apps on Americans’ phones and are doing so without any kind of legal process, sich as a court order,” Wyden wrote. “I have spent the last year investigating the shady, unregulated data brokers that are selling this data and the government agencies that are buying it. My investigation confirmed the warrantless purchase of American’s location data by the Internal Revenue Service, Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”