Sen. Johnson Asks CDC Why It Bought Location Data on Millions of Americans

May 10, 2022

Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin and ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control seeking further information about the CDC’s tracking of millions of Americans during the pandemic. The letter was sent in response to a recent Vice report that the CDC spent $420,000 to access location data from SafeGraph, a data broker that has been banned from the Google Play Store. The broad set of use cases for the location data outlined in a CDC document showed that much of the surveillance focused on kids, religious groups, and native people. Sen. Johnson asked the CDC to provide further information about its location data purchase, its use of that information, and details about any additional tracking the CDC undertook during the pandemic. EPIC has long advocated for strong rules restricting collection and use of location data and has commented on the CDC’s location data purchase.

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