June 12, 2023

Wyden: DNI Report Confirms Government Purchases of Private Data Threaten Privacy and Constitutional Rights; Congress Must Adopt New Protections Against Unchecked Surveillance of Commercial Data

Commercial Data Report Issued After Wyden Pressed DNI Haines to Release Information about Government Purchases of Private Data

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called for new protections against government purchases and surveillance of Americans’ personal data, following the release of a report commissioned by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that raised new concerns about the practices. 

“I appreciate that DNI Haines kept her word to stand-up this review group and then to publish the results of their work. This review shows the government's existing policies have failed to provide essential safeguards for Americans' privacy, or oversight of how agencies buy and use personal data,” Wyden said. “According to this report, the ODNI does not even know which federal intelligence agencies are buying Americans' personal data.”

“The executive branch must exercise much stronger oversight of this practice, issue guidance to agencies about the legal status of commercial data, and provide transparency to the American people about how it interprets the law,” Wyden continued. “If the government can buy its way around Fourth Amendment due-process, there will be few meaningful limits on government surveillance. Meanwhile, Congress needs to pass legislation to put guardrails around government purchases, to rein in private companies that collect and sell this data, and keep Americans’ personal information out of the hands of our adversaries.”

Wyden, a longtime privacy hawk, asked Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to review commercial data purchases by intelligence agencies during her confirmation hearing and then asked her to make that report public earlier this year.  

Wyden is the leading Congressional watchdog of how Americans personal data can be abused by unscrupulous commercial data brokers and government agencies alike, and has introduced numerous bills to reform government surveillance practices to better protect the rights of law-abiding Americans. 


Press Contact: Keith Chu