Civil liberties groups and lawmakers object to government agencies buying personal data

The Department of Homeland Security is buying “huge volumes” of U.S. residents’ cellphone data and sidestepping Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable government searches and seizures, according to data compiled by the ACLU.

DHS subagencies including Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are spending millions of dollars to buy cellphone location data sold by app makers to data brokers, the ACLU said. The civil liberties group and its New York branch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in December 2020 to uncover the data collection by DHS.

The records obtained by the ACLU show “the government’s
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