The Pentagon’s intelligence agency has been buying commercially available databases of location and movement information for several years without a court order. This was reported on January 23 by the edition The york times citing documents provided in response to Senator Ron Waden’s request.
According to the newspaper, over the past two and a half years, employees of the department, as part of five investigations, tracked the movements of Americans using a purchased database.
This opens a loophole in current US law: while authorities are required to request a warrant for telephone companies to transmit location data to their customers, the government can buy the same data from intermediaries without the necessary court approval.
Brokers, in turn, “do not distinguish between Americans and foreign users,” so the department employees are directly involved in filtering the information received. After that, in order to obtain permission to access the database with information about Americans, analysts must request special permission, which was issued five times in the past two and a half years.
In December, former head of the Washington State Mobile Security Service, Gary Miller, accused China of spying on Americans through telephone networks.