Exclusive — Reps. Warren Davidson, Andy Biggs: Biden Cannot Pretend to Protect Americans’ Privacy Abroad While Undermining It at Home

Joe Biden
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) in a statement on Thursday said President Joe Biden “cannot pretend” to protect Americans’ privacy while undermining congressional efforts to rein in surveillance, Breitbart News can reveal.

Biden issued an executive order on Wednesday to protect Americans’ sensitive data from data broker from “countries of concern.”

Data brokers collect Americans’ private information and often pass that data onto foreign intelligence services, which can often “enable intrusive surveillance, scams, blackmail, and other violations of privacy.”

The Biden administration explained in a release:

The sale of Americans’ data raises significant privacy, counterintelligence, blackmail risks and other national security risks—especially for those in the military or national security community.  Countries of concern can also access Americans’ sensitive personal data to collect information on activists, academics, journalists, dissidents, political figures, and members of non-governmental organizations and marginalized communities to intimidate opponents of countries of concern, curb dissent, and limit Americans’ freedom of expression and other civil liberties.

The executive order calls on the whole of the federal government, such as the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veterans Affairs (VA) to safeguard Americans’ privacy abroad.

Reps. Davidson and Biggs said in a statement to Breitbart News that Biden cannot ignore the glaring issue that is law enforcement agencies purchasing American’s private data at home.

“Americans’ privacy rights cannot be secured when governments around the world can buy our sensitive health data, location data, biometric data, and financial data. The U.S. government is circumventing the 4th Amendment and our right to privacy by purchasing these same types of data,” Davidson and Biggs said. “The Biden Administration cannot pretend to support Americans’ privacy rights while undermining them in the U.S. by opposing closing the data broker loophole domestically. This Administration must support the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act and ensure the federal government is barred from any purchase of our data to circumvent a requirement for a warrant or subpoena.”

Related: Rep. Andy Biggs: CDC Purchased $420k Worth of Data to Surveil Americans During the Coronavirus Pandemic

U.S. House of Representatives

There has been much focus on the abuses under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA); however, Biggs, Davidson, and other lawmakers have made the case that privacy reform must be more broad than reining Section 702.

Law enforcement agencies often purchase data from these third-party from data brokers, which Biggs has argued is a run around the Fourth Amendment.

Reports have found that data brokers such as Kochava sells a “staggering amount of sensitive info about Americans.

Watch: Rep. Warren Davidson Calls to Pass Amendment that Bans Pentagon from Circumventing Fourth Amendment

U.S. House of Representatives

Thirty House Republicans have also made the case that Congress must close the data broker loophole to protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights:

The threat to Americans’ Second and Fourth Amendment rights is not limited to the government’s purchase of location data. Commercial data brokers openly sell marketing lists containing the name, address, and other personal information identifying “gun owners” and “shooting fanatics,” as well as specialized lists, like “concealed carry – licensed gun owners,” “affluent gun owners,” and “age 70+; elderly gun owners.” Unfortunately, the same legal loophole that the Biden Administration has embraced to purchase Americans’ location data could equally apply to the purchase of commercial lists identifying gun owners. [Emphasis added]

The lawmakers have noted that the bipartisan Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act would close the data broker loophole by requiring that the government has to obtain a search warrant to obtain Americans’ private communications.

The House Judiciary Committee-advanced Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, which would rein in Section 702, would also close the data broker loophole.

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, such as Biggs and Davidson on the right, and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Sara Jacobs (D-CA) on the left, have tried to rein in government surveillance, the Biden administration has sought to reauthorize Section 702, a controversial surveillance law, for another year.

Elizabeth Goitein, the codirector of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said in a statement to the New York Times, “This shows the government’s utter contempt for the role of Congress and the democratic process when it comes to FISA and Section 702. The government isn’t trying to prevent a gap; it’s trying to sneak through an additional year of surveillance without congressional approval.”

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.