Pentagon Accused Of Engaging In Warrantless Spying On U.S. Citizens
Friday, May 14, 2021, 12:09 PM EDT
The U.S. Government always has an eye on its citizens, as we learned from the 2013 Snowden scandal. Since then, the government has come up with craftier ways of surveilling Americans, which is made easy by the data we give away using our mobile devices. With this in mind, Oregon senator Ron Wyden is accusing the Pentagon of conducting warrantless surveillance of Americans by buying this data.
For some time, Senator Wyden has been investigating government agencies buying US citizen's data, such as the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol warrantless tracking we reported on in December. In February, Senator Wyden's office asked the Department of Defense (DOD) for detailed explanations and information about its data purchasing habits across its many branches.
Motherboard, a Vice subsidiary, recently acquired a letter from Senator Wyden's office that discusses the replies to that original letter, some of which were kept aside. The replies that were not shared were either classified or given in a form that Wyden's office could not legally publish. Whether or not the replies can be published, tactfully asking public questions can be telling enough.
The letter to the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III opens with an urge to "release to the public information about the Department of Defense's (DoD) warrantless surveillance of Americans." The letter further discussed the replies that Wyden's office received from the original letter, and how they should not be classified as they are not a matter of national security. Moreover, he believes that Americans have a right to know what is happening while Congress debates closing loopholes exploited by data brokers.
The letter gives the DoD until June 15th to clear the information for release, but we will have to see if that happens. This is effectively a no-win situation for the DoD though, as whether they share the information or not, we will have the answer. In any case, we hope to hear more about Senator Wyden's investigation soon, so stay tuned to HotHardware for updates.
*The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense visual information does not imply or constitute DOD endorsement.