(Patriot.Buzz) – In a striking revelation of how federal agencies carry out unashamed privacy breaches, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been caught purchasing Americans’ internet browsing records from data brokers.
This means the NSA has monitored American citizens’ online activities without obtaining a court order. Democrat U.S. Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon disclosed documents confirming this activity.
The NSA’s acquisition of such data can expose details about American citizens, such as the websites and apps they visit. Senator Wyden urged the U.S. government to instruct intelligence agencies to stop buying personal data from Americans, especially when data brokers obtain such data illegally.
Senator Wyden raised a critical point due to a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) order. It states that data brokers cannot sell Americans’ data without informed consent. However, the NSA’s method bypasses this requirement.
Metadata, which includes details like the websites visited, when they were visited, and for how long, can potentially be misused for surveillance. Privacy advocates are concerned about these practices. They warn that such data can be abused, leading to unjustified surveillance of individuals.
Senator Wyden expressed strong concerns in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. He stated, “The U.S. government should not be funding and legitimizing a shady industry whose flagrant violations of Americans’ privacy are not just unethical, but illegal.”
He requested that the intelligence community adopt a policy only to purchase Americans’ data that aligns with the FTC’s legal standards for data sales.
He also suggested three specific actions: conducting an inventory of personal data related to Americans, evaluating each data source against FTC standards, and eliminating any data purchases that do not meet these legal standards.
Senator Wyden pointed out that the FTC has said mere consent from a consumer for data collection is insufficient. Consumers must be explicitly informed and agree to their data being sold for national security purposes.
He noted that he has been investigating the data broker industry for seven years and found that companies never warn consumers before collecting their data. Therefore, he suggests that violating privacy laws is widespread in the industry.
NEW – National Security Agency (NSA) has been accused of buying Americans' internet browsing data without warrants, according to documents released.https://t.co/0rXw2muvO6
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) January 30, 2024