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US defense and intelligence services are buying troves of data about Americans on the open market

US intelligence and defense organizations are perhaps operating outside mandates to spy on American citizens by buying a wealth of personal data through brokers, and a senator wants the practice stopped.

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The U.S. government is a key customer of data brokers

Senator Ron Wyden says in a letter that, thanks to a “legal gray area,” US intelligence and the Department of Defense can purchase bulk data about U.S. citizens without their consent. He wants the practice stopped, and the data deleted.

Typically, if a government security agency wants to obtain data about a user’s internet activity, they would need to petition developers and internet service providers with a warrant. However, they can avoid issuing warrants by purchasing data from data brokers.

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