Your tax dollars are going towards purchasing consumer data on you. According to a new report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the U.S. intelligence community is purchasing data on consumers to get around spying on you for it.
This data is called CAI, or Commercially Available Information (CAI). It can “reveal sensitive and intimate information about individuals.”
It seems that in the wake of the Edward Snowden’s revelations that the government has been spying on its people for years, intelligence has resorted to using the private sector to do that instead. This data is often labeled as anonymous but the report says that the government can decode it and identify individuals. The report says that this data can later be used to “pry into private lives, ruin reputations and cause emotional distress and threaten the safety of individuals.” The document continues, “Even subject to appropriate controls, CAI can increase the power of the government’s ability to peer into private lives to levels that may exceed our constitutional traditions or other social expectations.”
Senator Ron Wyden has said that this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment which protects people from unreasonable search and seizure by the government.