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Secret Service Paid to Get Americans’ Location Data Without a Warrant, Documents Show

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In all the talk about TikTok collecting the data of Americans and sending it to the Chinese government, we’ve often overlooked the broader issue of data brokers collecting the data of Americans and sending it god-knows-where. Case in point: A newly released document shows the U.S. Secret Service went through a controversial social media surveillance company to purchase the location information on American’s movements, no warrant necessary.

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Babel Street is a shadowy organization that offers a product called Locate X that is reportedly used to gather anonymized location data from a host of popular apps that users have unwittingly installed on their phones. When we say “unwittingly,” we mean that not everyone is aware that random innocuous apps are often bundling and anonymizing their data to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Back in March, Protocol reported that U.S. Customs and Border Protection had a contract to use Locate X and that sources inside the secretive company described the system’s capabilities as allowing a user “to draw a digital fence around an address or area, pinpoint mobile devices that were within that area, and see where else those devices have traveled, going back months.”

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Protocol’s sources also said that the Secret Service had used the Locate X system in the course of investing a large credit card skimming operation. On Monday, Motherboard confirmed the investigation when it published an internal Secret Service document it acquired through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. (You can view the full document here.)

The document covers a relationship between Secret Service and Babel Street from September 28, 2017, to September 27, 2018. In the past, the Secret Service has reportedly used a seperate social media surveillance product from Babel Street, and the newly-released document totals fees paid after the addition of the Locate X license as $1,999,394.

Neither the Secret Service nor Babel Street immediately responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment. But Sen. Ron Wyden, and Oregon Democrat, told Motherboard in a statement that he has been unable to get Babel Street to tell him “where their data comes from, who they sell it to, and whether they respect mobile device opt-outs.” Wyden added that his previously announced privacy bill would bar federal agencies from purchasing this kind of data on the open market.

Based on Fourth Amendment protections, law enforcement typically has to get a warrant or court order to seek to obtain Americans’ location data. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that cops still need a warrant to gather cellphone location data from network providers. And while law enforcement can obtain a warrant for specific cases as it seeks to view location data from a specific region of interest at a specific time, the Locate X system saves government agencies the time of going through judicial review with a next-best-thing approach.

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The data brokerage industry benefits from the confusion that the public has about what information is collected and shared by various private companies that are perfectly within their legal rights. You can debate whether it’s acceptable for private companies to sell this data to each other for the purpose of making profits. But when this kind of sale is made to the U.S. government, it’s hard to argue that these practices aren’t, at least, violating the spirit of our constitutional rights.

Source : Gizmodo Read More

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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