Pentagon buys data on people’s movements without a court order

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Pentagon Intelligence Agency for several years has been buying publicly available databases with information on the location and movement of people without a court order. This was reported on January 23 by The York Times, citing documents provided in response to a request from Senator Ron Wyden.

According to the newspaper, over the past two and a half years, officers at the office have tracked the movements of Americans through a purchased database in five investigations.

This reveals a loophole in current American law: despite the fact that authorities are required to request a warrant for phone companies to hand over their customers’ location data, the government can buy the same data from intermediaries without the necessary court approval.

Brokers, on the other hand, “do not distinguish between Americans and foreign users,” so the filtering of the information obtained is handled directly by the department’s staff. After that, analysts must ask for special permission to access the database with information about Americans; over the past two and a half years, such permission has been granted five times.

In December, the former head of the Washington State Mobile Network Security Service, Gary Miller, accused China of spying on Americans through telephone networks.