According to a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, multiple U.S. government agencies have been buying substantial amounts of personal information about American people from commercial data brokers. Given the intrusive nature and extensive reach of the information being gathered, this practice poses serious issues about privacy and civil liberties. The article, which was written by a law professor with expertise in electronic surveillance and privacy legislation, emphasizes the urgent need for legal laws to shield people from the dangers associated with unrestricted access to such commercially available information.
- Government agencies including the FBI, Department of Defense, and the National Security Agency, have been purchasing extensive personal data of U.S. citizens from commercial data brokers, potentially threatening privacy and civil liberties.
- This commercially available information, when analyzed with artificial intelligence, offers detailed insights about individuals, beyond what can be gleaned from traditional surveillance methods, often evading regulations that apply to government data collection.
- Commercially available information comprises vast amounts of personal data, derived from numerous sources including public records, internet-connected devices, and online activities. It paints a comprehensive picture of a person’s life and behavior, which is dubbed the “Internet of Behaviors.”
- There are legal grey areas concerning the purchase of this information by government agencies. Despite the invasive nature of data aggregation, there’s no federal data privacy law that outright prohibits government collection of publicly available information.
- The Office of the Director of National Intelligence report emphasizes the need for more robust internal guidelines and legal reforms to address privacy concerns and prevent potential misuse of this data. Proposals have been introduced for a National AI Commission and an AI regulation framework to tackle these issues.