Dem Sen. Wyden: Government Is Using Data Brokers to ‘Shred the Fourth Amendment’

Wednesday during an appearance on FBN’s “Kennedy,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) vowed to champion a fight against data brokers, who collect data on individuals through the use of apps on their smartphones and sell it.

According to Wyden, one of the customers is government, who he said was using data brokers as middlemen to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“Look, what the bottom line here is, it looks like the government is using a middleman, a data broker, to essentially shred the Fourth Amendment,” Wyden said. “And I have got to tell you, I have been investigating this for in the vicinity of a year now. And the more information we get about this, the more troubled I am. And, very shortly, I’m going to be introducing legislation, the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act. And that is going to stop the government from going around the courts by, in effect, paying off these sleazy data brokers, who, as you pointed out, are getting the information from the apps.”

Host Lisa Kennedy questioned if legislation was required, or if maybe the best way to pursue a solution was through the courts.

“I do believe, Kennedy, we are going to need legislation,” he replied. “Look, the fact is, you can never freeze technology. You can’t freeze innovation. That would make no sense at all. But here we have a situation where government agencies have confirmed to my investigators that they have been secretly tracking people’s movements using location data purchased from data brokers. And, by the way, it is not just location data that my bill is going to restrict. We’re also going to make sure that the government can’t get the information, the data on who you call and you text and the Web pages you’re reading as well.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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