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US spooks illegally using stolen data

by on06 October 2023

ICE, ICE, Baby

An oversight body for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Enforcement (CBP), and the Secret Service all broke the law while using location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on smartphones.

 In one instance, a CBP official also inappropriately used the technology to track the location of coworkers with no investigative purpose.

For years, US government agencies have been buying access to location data through commercial vendors, which critics say skirts the Fourth Amendment requirement of a warrant. During that time, the agencies have typically refused to publicly explain the legal basis for their purchase and use of the data.

Three of the main customers of commercial location data broke the law and needed to have a supervisory review to ensure proper use of the technology. We guess the bloke investigating a colleague was trying to find out if she was married or had a boyfriend.

The report recommends that ICE only uses such data once it obtains the necessary approvals, a request that ICE has refused.

The report with the catchy title CBP, ICE, and Secret Service Did Not Adhere to Privacy Policies or Develop Sufficient Policies Before Procuring and Using Commercial Telemetry Data is dated 28 September 2023 and was penned by Joseph V. Cuffari, the Inspector General for DHS.

The report was initially marked as "law enforcement sensitive," but the Inspector General has made it public.


Last modified on 06 October 2023
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