It is now revealed that the Biden administration, which has brought us an Orwellian “disinformation board” that they insist will not be used against American citizens, was purchasing cell phone location data and movement information to surveil American citizens during the COVID crisis.
How many times did we hear that anyone concerned about digital vaccine passports and lockdowns being used as an excuse to surveil our private lives and movement was a nutty conspiracy theorist? Lo and behold, it seems like that is exactly what is happening. Ostensibly to track compliance with lockdowns, in this case, the CDC tracked people wherever they went, including schools, church, and even when visiting neighbors, using cell phone tracking data.
The investigative website Vice broke the news, reporting, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bought access to location data harvested from tens of millions of phones in the United States to perform analysis of compliance with curfews, track patterns of people visiting K-12 schools, and specifically monitor the effectiveness of policy in the Navajo Nation…The documents also show that although the CDC used COVID-19 as a reason to buy access to the data more quickly, it intended to use it for more-general CDC purposes.”
Where do we start? The issue here is that a government bureaucracy believed surveilling the American people en masse was a perfectly fine thing to do. You know, in the name of “safety.” With everything we were facing during the pandemic, the CDC launched a program tracking you to your child’s school, to a restaurant, to a gym, and even to church.
We know the Democrats never want to let a good crisis go to waste. For them, every crisis presents an opportunity to do the worst thing possible; in this case, it was sweeping away the rule of law and constitutional order simply because they could.
Vice’s report details how cell phone location data can show where a person lives, works, and where they go. The CDC paid a company called Safe Graph $420,000 for access to one year of data using it ostensibly to track what people were doing during curfews. Is your blood boiling yet? It should be.
Further, “Zach Edwards, a cybersecurity researcher who closely follows the data marketplace, told Motherboard in an online chat after reviewing the documents: ‘The CDC seems to have purposefully created an open-ended list of use cases, which included monitoring curfews, neighbor-to-neighbor visits, visits to churches, schools, and pharmacies, and also a variety of analysis with this data specifically focused on ‘violence.’ (The document doesn’t stop at churches; it mentions ‘places of worship.’),” reported Vice.
Reasonable people could surmise that this is a dry run of a disgraceful and illegal effort by the government to normalize the tracking of individual Americans, categorizing them, and using that information for law enforcement and even political organizing purposes.
The CDC clearly feels they are above the law and other Constitutional decencies and was perfectly comfortable initiating mass surveillance on innocent people living their lives. The question now becomes, what’s tracked next? What about parents attending a school board meeting? Or how about people visiting a gun store? Or tracking those who go to a gun range? Or how about individual tracking of people who attend a Trump rally?
Remember, the Biden administration is challenging the overturning of the mask mandate not because it’s imperative to your health. In their statement, they said they were doing it to preserve the CDC’s “authority” to do whatever they deem necessary during an “emergency.” Dr. Anthony Fauci was the first to decry health authorities being subject to a court order. He called it “disturbing” and that it set a “dangerous precedent.” Actually, this is exactly what the judiciary does—reverse the government when it overreaches.
The Intercept is also reporting on the growing issue of private tracking data being used by the government: “As location data has proliferated largely unchecked by government oversight in the United States, one hand washes another, creating a private sector capable of state-level surveillance powers that can also fuel the state’s own growing appetite for surveillance without the usual judicial scrutiny.”
The data industry insists they aren’t bound by privacy laws because they are only tracking phones, and the data is not tied to people’s names. That’s laughable. An ACLU representative told the Intercept: “The Supreme Court has made clear that cellphone location information is protected under the Fourth Amendment because of the detailed picture of a person’s life it can reveal…Government agencies’ purchases of access to Americans’ sensitive location data raise serious questions about whether they are engaged in an illegal end run around the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.”
Indeed. The good news is it’s now clear there must be legislation to stop this repugnant practice in its tracks.
The “Just the News” website reported, “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a fierce protector of freedom and privacy, says it is time to ban federal agencies from being able to track Americans’ behavior by buying their cell phone location data from commercial vendors. ‘When the government is trying to snoop on your behavior, it’s wrong, and there should be laws against it…’”
There is a bill languishing in Congress called the “Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale” Act stopping the federal government from buying location information without a warrant. Contacting your representatives is imperative so they know you are aware of what’s happening and that this end-run against the Fourth Amendment must be stopped in its tracks.