Biden Considering Hiring Private Firms to Spy on American Citizens
Firms to monitor 'extremist chatter by Americans online'
Democrat Joe Biden is considering hiring private firms to surveil “extremist chatter by Americans online” due to limitations the federal government has without a warrant, according to reports.
The federal government is banned from using false identities to gain access to private messaging to access to private messaging apps and groups.
The government can scan social media profiles, however.
“The plan being discussed inside DHS, according to multiple sources, would, in effect, allow the department to circumvent” laws that limit what the federal government can do in surveilling U.S. citizens without a warrant.
“A source familiar with the effort said it is not about decrypting data but rather using outside entities who can legally access these private groups to gather large amounts of information that could help DHS identify key narratives as they emerge.”
The private firms the Biden administration is considering would “act as middlemen” to obtain the information consisting of “broad summaries or analysis of narratives that are emerging on these sites."
It would not “target specific individuals," the report added.
But some private firms use fake identities to access social media spaces that the government can’t access, which could cause legal trouble for Biden.
“Gathering information on US citizens — no matter how abhorrent their beliefs — raises instant constitutional and legal challenges,” the report added.
“Civil liberties advocates and privacy hawks have long criticized any efforts to collect even publicly available information on Americans in bulk as a violation of Americans’ First and Fourth Amendment rights.”
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle criticized the report, including former intelligence officials.
Democrat and former CIA officer, Bryan Dean Wright, wrote:
“Joe Biden wants to ‘partner’ with the private sector to conduct surveillance because the Govt can’t do it without a warrant or ongoing investigation."
"This is monstrous.”
Joe Biden wants to “partner” with the private sector to conduct surveillance because the Govt can’t do it without a warrant or ongoing investigation.— BDW (@BryanDeanWright) May 3, 2021
This is monstrous. pic.twitter.com/pRV1XamP0d
Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows responded:
“They spied on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and skated by with no consequences… and now they want to spy on you too."
"This is a chilling, terrible idea that should be roundly rejected.”
They spied on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and skated by with no consequences... and now they want to spy on you too.— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) May 3, 2021
This is a chilling, terrible idea that should be roundly rejected. https://t.co/fD1GxLDjUQ
“The government outsourcing warrantless domestic spying of American citizens to outside corporations doesn’t make it any less dangerous, unconstitutional or illegal,” political strategist Andrew Surabian wrote.
“Do any pols have the courage to stand up to an increasingly lawless & authoritarian national security state?”