A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Senators Ron Wyden, Elizabeth Warren and Brian Schatz has called for an inspector general investigation into US Customs and Border Protection’s use of commercially-available location data to track American citizens without a warrant. In a letter shared by the office of Senator Wyden, the group says CBP recently acknowledged it has spent approximately $500,000 on subscriptions to a commercial database [Venntel] of location data and used that information to track and identify individuals, but the agency would not disclose why it believes it can use that data without a warrant. Normally, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, publishes a Privacy Impact Assessment when it considers implementing new surveillance technologies. Those reports detail the privacy risks associated with those new technologies. That’s not something the department did in this case.
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