The Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure of their property – but did you know the government can still buy your private data?
Republican Congressman Warren Davidson has been part of a bipartisan effort to stop this gross infringement on privacy rights and civil liberties, which he discussed in a recent interview with BASEDPolitics’ Brad Polumbo.
Polumbo introduced Davidson, asking, “I want to talk about the Fourth Amendment, which for folks that don’t know is supposed to protect Americans from unreasonable search and seizures by our government. But you recently introduced legislation trying to stop something I didn’t even know was happening.”
“Apparently government agencies can buy our data to circumvent getting a warrant when they want to surveil us? Tell us about that,” Brad queried, referring to citizens’ metadata which TechCrunch described in June as, “the kind of data generated from internet-connected devices and made available by data brokers for purchase, such as phone apps and vehicles that collect granular location data and web browsing data that tracks users as they browse the internet.”
Davidson explained, “So you know, the right to privacy is fundamental. The Constitution doesn’t grant our rights, it’s supposed to protect us. It limits what the government can do, and so things that the government would otherwise have to get a warrant or a subpoena, they’ve just been bypassing it and buying the data.”
He explained how this has happened under Americans’ noses.
“And this is kind of a phenomenon that’s taken place for a while now because you know Americans have shared their data in all sorts of ways with companies, and companies have been able to monetize that data,” Davidson said. “That’s a different problem that we need to solve.”
Rep. Davidson discussed his legislation to address this problem.
The congressman continued, “I’ve got a bill called the ‘It’s Your Data Act’ that would sort of recognize that people have a property right in their data. That one doesn’t have a path to move yet because of some of the abuses that we’ve seen going on from the federal government.”
“We had a coalition of conservatives and progressives who said, ‘hey, we should
stop this,’” Davidson continued. “And so we passed a bill through the Judiciary Committee. It hasn’t yet come up for a vote on the floor of the House”he said.
Davidson said the bipartisan coalition for the bill included himself along with Republican Reps. Andy Biggs and Thomas Massie along with Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Pramila Jayapal and Jerry Nadler.
Davidson said this group of legislators wanted to say with “one voice, you know, the government can’t bypass the Fourth Amendment and buy what they would otherwise have to get a warrant or subpoena for.”
He added, “The FBI and the defense intelligence agency are among several government entities known to have solicited private data brokers to access information for which a court order is generally required.”
“And so they used our taxpayer money to buy it,” Davidson said. “So we were paying to circumvent our own rights.”
Davidson said this kind of rights infringement cuts into what it means to be an American.
“Unfortunately… sort of the way I’ve seen what’s happening with the weaponization of government, people are using our own government to undermine our country,” he continued. “It really is cutting against the values that make our country distinctive.”
“So if we don’t defend freedom there… once freedom’s surrendered it’s rarely
reclaimed,” Davidson concluded.
Davidson also discussed the danger of a Federal Reserve-backed digital currency, the US proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, and his opposition to the recent Respect for Marriage Act bill that protects same sex marriage at the federal level.
Watch or listen to the entire interview here.