Freedom? Privacy? US Secret Services Buying Location Data That Necessitate Warrants

In the land where freedom is to die for, where privacy is protected by law and constitution, law enforcement agencies, including the US Secret Service, are buying your data that would ordinarily require a warrant.

Both democrats and republican politicians have in recent history been steadfastly united to launch wars and regime change agendas to give Syrians, Libyans, Venezuelans and many others around the world freedom and democracy. Yet, not many of these legislatures are making any noise or eager to bring new laws in to protect American citizens’ constitutional rights and civil liberties being violated for profit.

Read New York Times, and Ars-Technica exerts and full reports below. 

December 8, 2018 New Your Times reported:

Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret

August 17, 2020 reported: 

“The Secret Service paid for a product that gives the agency access to location data generated by ordinary apps installed on peoples’ smartphones, an internal Secret Service document confirms.”

August 18, 2020 Ars Technica reported:

“An increasing number of law enforcement agencies, including the US Secret Service, are simply buying their way into data that would ordinarily require a warrant, a new report has found, and at least one US senator wants to put a stop to it.

The Secret Service paid about $2 million in 2017-2018 to a firm called Babel Street to use its service Locate X, according to a document (PDF) Vice Motherboard obtained. The contract outlines what kind of content, training, and customer support Babel Street is required to provide to the Secret Service.

Locate X provides location data harvested and collated from a wide variety of other apps, tech site Protocol reported earlier this year. Users can “draw a digital fence around an address or area, pinpoint mobile devices that were within that area, and see where else those devices have traveled” in the past several months, Protocol explained.

Agencies under the Department of Homeland Security—including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—have purchased access to cellphone location activity for investigations, The Wall Street Journal reported in February. In June, the WSJ also reported that the IRS purchased access to location data through commercial databases.

Easier than a warrant

Private companies can gather up, buy, sell, and trade all kinds of sensitive user data more or less however they want, with very few limitations—and they do.

All kinds of mobile apps collect location data, both legitimately and illegitimately, and then sell it to data brokers. The data brokers then pass on is theoretically anonymized—but in practice, it’s easily identifiable.


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