The State Department has offered law enforcement and intelligence agencies unfettered access to the passport data of 145 million Americans. Demand Congress end this abuse!
Applying for a passport shouldn’t double as data collection for intelligence and law enforcement agencies. But that’s exactly what the State Department decided when it granted unrestricted access to sensitive passport application data to 25 agencies. Agents were free to trawl biometric data, photographs, and contact data, all without any evidence, or even suspicion, that a crime had occurred.
This overreach reminds us of the very real risks of unrestricted information sharing. Without requirement for any kind of factual predicate, intelligence and law enforcement agencies can gobble up our data and subject millions of law-abiding Americans to suspicion and surveillance.
Unfortunately, these harms are far from theoretical. Customs and Border Patrol agents used the State Department’s passport data to ‘vet’ a journalist, digging up contact information and data about the journalist’s family members. Without clear guardrails, data troves can be exploited for political agendas far removed from any law enforcement function.
Take action today! This outrageous abuse of passport data demands rigorous oversight. Urge Congress to investigate State Department abuse of passport data.
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