The Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act is sponsored by a bipartisan group including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and 18 other members of the Senate. The bill would make law enforcement agencies obtain a court order before accessing people’s personal information through third-party brokers — companies that aggregate and sell information like detailed user location data, surreptitiously gathered from smartphone apps or other sources.
Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced equivalent legislation in the House of Representatives.
Federal agencies are using legal loopholes to collect massive amounts of information on Americans without a court order, violating the spirit of the Fourth Amendment. While there are strict rules for consumer-facing companies — phone companies like AT&T and Verizon and tech companies like Google and Facebook — loopholes in the law currently permit data brokers and other firms without a direct relationship
Media reports last this year revealed that a data broker named Venntel is selling location data collected from Americans’ smartphones to government agencies. While it would be unlawful for app developers to sell data directly to the government, a legal loophole permits app developers to sell data to a data broker, which can then sell that data to the government. According to media reports, other data brokers have tracked people at places of worship and at protests.
Another controversial data broker, Clearview.AI, has compiled a massive database of billions of photos, which it downloaded in bulk from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & YouTube, in violation of their terms of service. Clearview.AI uses these illicitly obtained photos to power a facial recognition service it sells to government agencies, which they can search without a court order.
The Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act closes major loopholes in federal privacy law and ensures that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which regulates law enforcement access to Americans’ information, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which regulates the intelligence agencies, are the exclusive means by which the government can surveil Americans. This bill:
- Requires the government to get a court order to force data brokers to disclose data — the same kind of court order needed to compel data from tech and phone companies.
- Extends existing privacy laws to infrastructure firms that own data cables & cell towers.
- Closes loopholes that permit the intelligence community to buy or otherwise acquire metadata about Americans’ international calls, texts and emails to family and friends abroad, and obtain records about their web browsing of foreign websites — information that would normally require a court order to compel.
- Takes away the Attorney General’s authority to grant civil immunity to providers and other third parties for assistance with surveillance not required or permitted by statute. Providers retain immunity for surveillance assistance ordered by a court
The Bill of Rights was in place to stop government intrusion. If politicians and corporations cannot abide by the Bill of Rights they should seek another career. The rights apply to everybody and nobody should take away those rights at any time or any place.
BILL OF RIGHTS
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
- No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
- The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
- No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
- In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
- Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
- The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
- The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The Bill of Rights applies to everyone. Love it or despise it, it is the basic set of rights granted to the people.