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Government Surveillance

Press Release: CDT Applauds Bipartisan Reintroduction of Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act

Bill closes legal loophole that allows data brokers to sell Americans’ personal information to law enforcement and intelligence agencies without court oversight

(WASHINGTON) The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) applauds the reintroduction of the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act in the U.S. House of Representatives with a bipartisan set of cosponsors. The bill, which CDT has endorsed and which is listed to be marked up on Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee, would close a dangerous loophole that law enforcement exploits to purchase private data—such as cell phone location data and Internet browsing information—that should require a warrant to obtain. (For more information on how often this problematic practice occurs, see CDT’s Legal Loopholes and Data for Dollars report).

“We don’t let police pay a phone company to install a wiretap instead of getting a warrant from a judge to place the wiretap. It’s long past time to close this loophole and stop police from buying their way around the warrant requirement for our sensitive location and browsing data,” says Jake Laperruque, Deputy Director of CDT’s Project on Security & Surveillance. “This is fantastic news for privacy rights and shows strong momentum building for broad surveillance reform on a host of issues.”

The Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act has previously received strong support from civil rights and civil liberties organizations. Last week, at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on FBI oversight, numerous Members—including Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan—stated that the data purchase loophole was a serious problem that needs to be remedied.