PPSA previously sent an appeal to every Member of the U.S. House urging them to vote for the Davidson-Jacobs Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It would place significant restrictions on the government’s purchase of Americans’ Fourth Amendment-protected sensitive, personal information without a warrant.
We attached to our letter the endorsement of this measure from more than 40 civil liberties allies—ranging from the ACLU to FreedomWorks, from the Brennan Center and Demand Progress to Americans for Prosperity and the Due Process Institute.
The strong bipartisan support in the House led to the passage of this important measure by voice vote.
“This vote is vital because our digital histories reveal our personal lives—where we’ve been, who we’ve met or communicated with, what we’ve searched for online, even our medical issues,” we wrote. “A digital portrait can be more personal and intimate than a diary.
“Yet, under current practice, federal agencies purchase our most sensitive and personal information scraped from apps and sold by third-party data brokers. The general counsels of intelligence and law enforcement agencies assert a right to see our most personal information without the need to get a warrant, in flagrant disregard of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
“This is the kind of practice one expects of a surveillance state, not America.”
The House now officially agrees. This measure would require agencies within the Department of Defense to get a probable cause warrant, court order or subpoena to purchase personal information that in other circumstances would require such a warrant.
“This amendment strikes a reasonable balance between respecting the privacy of Americans while leaving the government with the power to search for potential threats to the homeland,” says Bob Goodlatte, PPSA Senior Policy Advisor. “The Senate should respect the groundswell of bipartisan support shown in the House today for this amendment in the NDAA.”