The vast amounts of American’s personal data available for sale has provided a rich stream of intelligence for the U.S. government, but created significant threats to privacy, according to a newly released report by the U.S’s top spy agency, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Commercially available information, or CAI, has grown in such scale that it has begun to replicate the results of intrusive surveillance techniques once used on a more targeted and limited basis, the report found.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the report was commissioned by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines after Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) requested that the intelligence community detail and make public how it uses commercially available data. Ms. Haines agreed to the request during her 2021 conformation hearing. The report was completed in January 2022; it was released to the public last week.
The report was commissioned by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines after Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) requested that the intelligence community detail and make public how it uses commercially available data. Ms. Haines agreed to the request during her 2021 confirmation hearing. The report was completed in January 2022; it was released to the public last week.
It represents the first known attempt by the U.S. government to examine comprehensively how federal agencies acquire, share and use commercial available data sets that are often compiled with minimal awareness by the public that its data is being collected and sold.
CNN reported that the vast amount of personal data for sale is an “increasingly powerful” tool for intelligence gathering by US and foreign spying agencies but also represents a privacy risk to ordinary people, according to a newly declassified US intelligence report.
To protect civil liberties, US spy agencies need to catalog what data they buy and develop guidance for protecting that data, according to the report released by the Office of the National Intelligence on Friday.
According to CNN, the report is one of the more detailed public records of how the US intelligence community approaches “commercially available information” – things such as geolocation data and phone records, which can be bought from third parties. The amount of such data available to anyone with a credit card has exploded in the past decade as smartwatches and wireless earpieces have become a staple of life.
Personally, I find it disturbing that the U.S. government is grabbing personal data from American’s phones, smartwatches, and possibly other sources. There is no valid reason to do this. My hope is that legislation will be passed that prevents this sort of thing from happening again.