Report: DOD Agencies Provided Access to “Petabytes” of Data, Including Internet Browsing and Email Data, via Data Broker Mass Monitoring Tool

September 21, 2022

In a letter to the DOD, DHS, and DOJ Inspectors General, Sen. Ron Wyden revealed that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has purchased a subscription to Augury, a service that provides access to internet browsing and email data. Motherboard further reported that the U.S. Navy, Army, Cyber Command, and the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency have all paid to access the service, which is offered by data broker Team Cymru. According to Sen. Wyden’s letter, Augury provides access to “petabytes” of network data “from over 550 collection points worldwide” and “is updated with at least 100 billion new records each day.” Sen. Wyden expressed further concern that the contracting records indicated that Augury provided the U.S. Navy access to ordinary Americans’ email data—including sensitive packet capture (PCAP) data—and web browser history. 

In his letter, Sen. Wyden noted that his prior efforts to shed light on the government’s purchase of internet browsing records had been “frustrated by the Pentagon.” Sen. Wyden urged the Inspectors General to investigate the warrantless purchase and use of American’s internet browsing agencies, and to ensure that the government’s surveillance activities are consistent with the Fourth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter v. United States

EPIC has long challenged warrantless government surveillance and searches of sensitive digital data, including internet browsing and search history, and has called for hearings on the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act, which would end the government’s end-run around Carpenter by purchasing Americans’ personal information from data brokers. 

Through its Domestic Surveillance project, EPIC has also sought to obtain numerous government documents exposing details of various government surveillance programs utilizing private data brokers, mobile forensic technology providers, and hacking tools

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