ODNI Releases Partially Declassified Report on Data Purchases in Response to EPIC FOIA

June 12, 2023

On Friday, in response to EPIC’s FOIA request, ODNI released a partially declassified report on the Intelligence Community’s (IC) purchase of commercially available information. As reported by Wired, the ODNI’s Senior Advisory Group found that the IC is collecting increasing amounts of CAI—including sensitive information like location data—but does not know how much CAI agencies are collecting, what types, or even what it is doing with that data. The report also found that, despite the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Carpenter v. United States, which requires a warrant for persistent location information and potentially other data, the IC has no formal, community-wide position on the issue, and individual agencies continue to narrowly construe the decision to allow for the purchase of otherwise protected information from data brokers without a warrant.

As EPIC Law Fellow Chris Baumohl told Wired:

“This report makes it clear that the government continues to think that it can buy its way out of constitutional protections using taxpayers’ own money. Congress must tackle the government’s data broker pipeline this year, before it considers any reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).”

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