back to article Proposed ban on data brokers selling warrantless personal info to Feds revived

A draft law that would prevent data brokers from selling US citizens' personal information to law enforcement and federal agencies without a warrant has been advanced by lawmakers. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved the aptly named Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act [PDF]. If signed into law – and that's …

  1. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Learning how to interpret

    "Regular Americans who use their phones on a daily basis are not consenting to send all their movements, contacts and web browsing information to the government," said Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who introduced the bill with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) in 2021.

    Yes they are. It's in the T&C's or the privacy policy telling users that their information will (or "may") be shared with the telcos 'partners', which translates to "we are going to sell your data to anybody with the asking price". I expect that the politicians have failed to comprehend that a "privacy policy" isn't how a company is going to keep information private, but the ways they are going to sell or otherwise divulge that information. A big downside being that all of the cell providers are doing it so there's no choice for the user.

    I don't like that my information might be shared with The Man, but I don't see how legally obtained information that is on offer to anybody with the money can't be sold to a government agency. A warrant is used to compel the disclosure, it's not required if the telco is willing to just hand over data or if the data can be purchased from a company that bought it from the telco, InstaPintaTwitFace or whoever. If this law they are trying write gets passed, will it forbid me from buying the information with my own $14.99 and handing it freely to law enforcement? The whole point of warrants is to prevent law enforcement from using devious means to obtain information, not prevent investigators from doing their job. If they want information that isn't freely given, that's a good place to have some oversight.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Learning how to interpret

      If it's not right for law enforcement to get the data without a warrant by buying it the obvious question is how can it be right for other parties to get hold of it by buying it, T&Cs notwithstanding? The only logical conclusion is that privacy of such information is a right that should not be capable of being waived in T&Cs. Does the US have an equivalent to Marcus Schrems to tkae this to court?

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Learning how to interpret

        "Does the US have an equivalent to Marcus[sic] Schrems to take this to court?"

        Man, I think this country would be a much better place if we did. Unfortunately, no one over here really gives a sh*t about privacy. And therein lies the root of the problem.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "rules [..] that already are in place for phone and tech companies"

    Once again, the required law already exists and it is not necessary to write an entirely new law.

    What needed to be done was simply to modify the existing law to not restrict warrants to phone and tech companies, but consider that it targets any company that has data to sell.

    In these modern times, lawmakers need to write laws for today while keeping an eye open for what might exist tomorrow.

  3. DS999 Silver badge

    Democrats and republicans agreeing?

    Yeah right. The republicans claim to LOVE law enforcement and fancy themselves as the party that stops crime. They aren't going to agree with a law that makes it harder for them to catch criminals.

    They might support a limited law that only prevented the sale of such info to the IRS, but they'd never support making it so red state law enforcement can't get their hands on information about who is having an abortion in another state. Laws requiring the handover of information about who is having abortions in other states is their latest abuse of women's rights, in fact.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Democrats and republicans agreeing?

      "Yeah right. The republicans claim to LOVE law enforcement and fancy themselves as the party that stops crime. They aren't going to agree with a law that makes it harder for them to catch criminals."

      Both sides of the aisle are equally guilty of playing politics. If you want to argue a point while pointing fingers at one party or the other, you miss out on saying something that is actually something that is balanced in its application to everybody. I don't like Affirmative Action not because one political party is in favor, but rather that it's a set of laws and concepts that don't apply equally to the population of the US. I would oppose any law that is written for the benefit of one distinguishable group and not written in a way that provides protection for everybody. The Equal Housing Act states that people cannot be denied housing based on the usual protected classes. Race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, etc. It doesn't name or favor any particular group over another. If you can afford the rent or have enough credit history to support getting a loan, that's nearly all the decision can be based upon.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nah, it'll never become law

    .. as long as it interferes with someone making a profit.

    This is the US we're talking about, not Europe.

  5. Tron Silver badge

    Pass all the laws you want.

    The authorities will ignore them and laugh as they do, in the interests of national security.

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