Excerpt from a recent speech by Mark Davis, PPSA Policy Director, to business leaders at the Petroleum Club of San Antonio
“Americans are surveilled by drones, networks of cameras and facial recognition, cell-site simulators that trick our cellphones into giving up our data, not to mention the free access government agencies have to many of our communications under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“All of this surveillance is done without warrants, as required by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
“But the most egregious violation is the purchasing of our personal and sensitive information by the government from data brokers. As you probably know, our apps and social media platforms constantly record our data, communications, and location histories. What you may not know, however, is how easy it is for a government agent to access all of this information about you.
“When commercial vendors buy our data for advertising, they do it to place ads in our Facebook feeds. When the government buys our data, an agent can see our social interactions, what we search for online, our health and mental health concerns, our political beliefs and associations, our religious expressions and worship, our romances, financial information and what we read.
“Advertisers want to sell us dry goods like sweaters or dog leashes. The government wants information to decide whether it will dispatch a SWAT team to break down our door at two in the morning, prosecute us, and send us off to prison.
“To be fair, government agencies have plenty of real threats from terrorists and spies to track. But shouldn’t warrants be required before the FBI and other agencies can focus such powerful surveillance on law-abiding Americans? The great danger is that with artificial intelligence, all of these various forms of surveillance will be networked – woven together into a seamless web of continuous surveillance, as it is in China today.
“Then we’re all living in an American Panopticon, one that renders the Constitution and its Fourth Amendment meaningless.”