US AGENCIES – PERSONAL DATA: US agencies buy personal information on the open market

31 July 2023

Here’s something that might surprise you. Numerous U.S. government agencies, including the FBI, Department of Defense, and National Security Agency, are buying up personal information. This revelation, from a partially declassified report, shines a light on the scale and potential of the consumer data market.

The report highlights the collection of various types of information such as location, gender and sexual orientation, religious and political views and affiliations, weight and blood pressure, speech patterns, emotional states, behavioral information, shopping patterns, and family and friends. It emphasizes the significant dangers of acquiring this data and recommends that the intelligence community establish internal protocols to tackle these issues.

There is no legal prohibition on the government collecting information already disclosed to the public or otherwise publicly available. But the nonpublic information listed in the declassified report includes data that U.S. law typically protects. The nonpublic information’s mix of private, sensitive, confidential, or otherwise lawfully protected data makes the collection a legal gray area.

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