Bill that Would Stop the Government Buying Data Without a Warrant Passes Key Hurdle

The Fourth Amendment is Not for Sale Act passed the House Judiciary Committee, bringing it one step closer to becoming law. The bill was written in part in response to Motherboard’s reporting.
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A group of lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee passed a proposed piece of legislation that would stop government agencies buying data without a warrant. The Fourth Amendment is Not for Sale Act was in part written in response to Motherboard’s continued revelations about the location data industry.

“By passing the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act, both Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee just made clear that the Data Broker Loophole must and will be closed,” Senior Policy Counsel Sean Vitka at activist group Demand Progress said in a statement. “This is a major step forward for privacy in the digital age, but among the most significant moments were statements from Chairman Jordan and Representative Lofgren that this will be included in legislation to make major reforms to FISA, which will be considered before the end of the year.”


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The Committee is led by Congressman Jim Jordan. Vitka added that “We commend Representatives Jacobs, Jayapal, Lofgren, and Nadler, among others, for their leadership in this defining moment.”

Motherboard previously revealed that the U.S. military has bought products that repackage location data harvested from ordinary smartphone apps. Muslim Pro, a Muslim prayer app with more than 98 million downloads, provided data to a company called X-Mode, for example. Motherboard and the Wall Street Journal have also reported on various law enforcement agency purchases of location data. The office of Senator Ron Wyden, who first introduced The Fourth Amendment is Not for Sale Act in 2021 along with Senator Rand Paul, also found the Pentagon is surveilling Americans without a warrant.

“The Fourth Amendment is Not For Sale Act will restore Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights and stop the government from using its credit card when it should be getting a warrant,” Wyden said in a statement after the Committee’s news. “Regular Americans who use their phones on a daily basis are not consenting to send all their movements, contacts and web browsing information to the government. I applaud the Judiciary Committee for advancing our bill on a bipartisan basis, and look forward to following suit in the Senate.”

The bill will now go to the full House.

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