NSA's Warrantless Purchase of Americans' Internet Browsing Data Revealed

The National Security Agency (NSA) has been revealed to purchase internet browsing data of U.S. citizens from commercial data brokers without obtaining a warrant. In an unclassified letter to Senator Ron Wyden, NSA director Paul Nakasone confirmed this practice, emphasizing that the collected data does not include the content of private internet communications or location data from phones used in the United States. The NSA uses this information for lawful Department of Defense missions, including intelligence, personnel security, and cybersecurity.

Senator Wyden expressed concerns, calling the practice a "legal gray area" and advocating for new rules that ensure organizations can only purchase data with Americans' consent. He urged the NSA to conduct an inventory of purchased personal data, aligning with FTC standards for legal personal data sales. Under Secretary of Defense Ronald S. Moultrie defended the NSA's actions, stating they are subject to safeguards. The FTC, known for fighting against data brokers violating privacy, has recently taken legal action against companies selling location data without consent. Wyden highlighted the sensitivity of internet metadata, potentially revealing sensitive information about individuals seeking help or medical services.

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