Bipartisan Senate bill would block law enforcement agencies from purchasing Clearview...

Polycount

Posts: 2,862   +575
Staff member
(Lack of) privacy: Maintaining privacy has become increasingly difficult in the digital era. Automated data scraping bots scour the internet for photos, phone numbers, email addresses, and other personal information, funneling it all back to their owners for re-sale. As it turns out, some US Senators don't care for this practice -- particularly when the customer is the government itself -- and are seeking to put a stop to it.

Twenty US senators have banded together to draft a bipartisan bill, called the "Fourth Amendment is Not For Sale Act," could close a legal loophole that allows companies like Clearview AI -- a facial recognition tech firm -- to sell Americans' information to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

According to Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore) and Rand Paul (R-Ky), current privacy laws don't apply evenly across all data transactions -- whereas companies that have "direct relationships with consumers" are subject to stricter rules, data brokers can sell data to government entities "without any court oversight."

"This bill... ensures that the government can’t use its credit card to end-run the Fourth Amendment."

"Doing business online doesn’t amount to giving the government permission to track your every movement or rifle through the most personal details of your life," Wyden said in a statement. "There’s no reason information scavenged by data brokers should be treated differently than the same data held by your phone company or email provider. This bill closes that legal loophole and ensures that the government can’t use its credit card to end-run the Fourth Amendment."

Some of the data Senators are hoping to block law enforcement agencies from buying include facial recognition and location information, but the wording of the bill is much broader than those two categories alone.

Wyden specifically calls out Clearview AI for "illegitimately" obtaining internet users' data, implying that the firm gathers photos via "deception, hacking, violations of a contract, privacy policy, or terms of service."

We'll be reaching out to Clearview for comment, and will update this article if we receive a response. In the meantime, you can read the Fourth Amendment is Not For Sale Act in its entirety for yourself right here.

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terzaerian

Posts: 960   +1,398
It smacks of attacking the symptom instead of the disease. It seems to be focused more on owning those nasty police rather than addressing the root: the companies developing this dystopian technology. Unfortunately the latter have more generous lobbyists, I imagine, so they get the pass.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,719   +3,726
Guess its time to just throw in the towel, eh? Might as well not bother.
You gave up your privacy the moment you decided to use the internet. Everything you've ever done on the internet is stored somewhere and can be accessed either legally or illegally.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,502   +3,740
You gave up your privacy the moment you decided to use the internet. Everything you've ever done on the internet is stored somewhere and can be accessed either legally or illegally.
No, I didnt immediately blast my name, phone number, ece onto the internet when I started using it, in fact to this day I have not done those things.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,719   +3,726
No, I didnt immediately blast my name, phone number, ece onto the internet when I started using it, in fact to this day I have not done those things.
having done none of those things does not prevent you from being identified or tracked on the internet. There are things you can do to make it "harder" to identify you, but the more websites you visit the easier it gets to. Even if you never log into a website or make an e-mail it's almost trivial to identify you with todays computing power. I don't believe you've never made an e-mail because you need one for a techspot account. And I also don't believe you've never ordered anything online. I doubt you don't use online banking or have never accessed a bill from the internet.

Even if you've never done any of those, everything you do on the internet is being tracked and stored. With todays compute power, processing all the information to identify you is near trivial
 

CommonSenseTech

Posts: 103   +94
It smacks of attacking the symptom instead of the disease. It seems to be focused more on owning those nasty police rather than addressing the root: the companies developing this dystopian technology. Unfortunately the latter have more generous lobbyists, I imagine, so they get the pass.

You’ve got it exactly backwards. Big corporations aren’t kneeling on the necks of Black people until they die of asphyxia. Demand for these corporate abuses exists because law enforcement is abusive, dismissive of individual rights, and generally views itself as not accountable to the citizenry (but rather above it and in charge of it). Law enforcement demands this data.

But I also think this is a symptom of a government that is completely unaccountable to its constituents. When the national candidate who got fewer votes can win, and then almost win again, and presidential debates don’t include all of the candidates who are on the ballot, what one has is pretty far from democracy.

Even on the local level, this is a problem. Law enforcement unions and various bureaucracies act as entities unto themselves, more accountable to their employees than to the public they’re meant to serve.

Ideally, abuse of this sort of data would have immediate consequences — recalls, elections of iconoclastic citizen-leaders who stand up to tackle abuse and so on. But in a system where the guy who got three million fewer votes gets to be president and where two very unaccountable political parties get to choose everyone on the ballot and in the debates, some other more heavy-handed regulation is required to maintain a modicum of accountability.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,866   +1,089
You gave up your privacy the moment you decided to use the internet. Everything you've ever done on the internet is stored somewhere and can be accessed either legally or illegally.
Guess its time to just throw in the towel, eh? Might as well not bother.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,080   +4,314
It smacks of attacking the symptom instead of the disease. It seems to be focused more on owning those nasty police rather than addressing the root: the companies developing this dystopian technology. Unfortunately the latter have more generous lobbyists, I imagine, so they get the pass.
If the companies did not develop it, law enforcement would.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,866   +1,089
What about this is a good first attempt? If it doesn't work, how would you revise and adapt it?
  • This seems like a good one, protecting your fourth amendment rights:

  • "Requires the government to get a court order to compel data brokers to disclose data — the same kind of court order needed to compel data from tech and phone companies."

And this bit would seem to keep anyone from buying/lobbying for immunity from breaking this law, without a pre-exiting court order to back them up. Companies and individuals could no longer 'freely' offer up the information they have in exchange for immunity in any role they may have played - the courts need to order them to provide the information, and they don't get to get themselves off the hook just because they cooperated:

"Takes away the Attorney General’s authority to grant civil immunity to providers and other third parties for assistance with surveillance not required or permitted by statute. Providers retain immunity for surveillance assistance ordered by a court."

And reading through the actual text of the bill, the definition of terms, and what it covers, seems to back up these claims. The government, under this bill, wouldn't even be able to share information between different agencies without a court order. So, yeah, good first attempt.

And if they ever poke a legal hole in it, the 'patch' will depend on the size, shape and location of said 'hole'