September 21, 2022 10:20 a.m.
Senator Ron Wyden is requesting the inspectors general for the departments of Homeland Security, Defense and Justice to investigate the warrantless purchase and use of American’s web browsing records, based on evidence in public records and from a government whistleblower.
A release said in a letter to the three Inspectors General, Wyden revealed that public contracting records and a Defense Department whistleblower provided new information about the extent of federal internet record purchasers.
The release said although the Defense Department previously refused to provide Wyden with public answers about whether it purchases browsing records, publicly available government contracts show multiple federal agencies have purchased access to internet metadata. Wyden said that includes U.S. Cyber Command, the Army, the Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Wyden said public records indicate the U.S. Secret Service also has contracts with the same data brokers.
In his letter Wyden said, “I request that your offices investigate the warrantless purchase and use of American’s internet browsing records by the agencies under your jurisdictions”. He said the Inspectors General independent oversight must ensure that the government’s surveillance records are consistent with the Supreme Court’s Carpenter decision and “…safeguard American’s Fourth Amendment rights”.
The release said Wyden’s past efforts have confirmed that the Defense Intelligence Agency, Customs and Border Protection and other federal agencies have purchased personal data without records or court oversight.