Yet another government law enforcement surveillance practice was put under the microscope recently by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Thanks to the Edward Snowden leaks, we now know about government programs to spy on American citizens and collect bulk phone, text and pretty much all electronic communications data. More recent revelations include the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s use of informants at airlines, parcel services and government agencies such as the Transportation Safety Administration and Amtrak to snoop on travelers, and the FBI’s use of Best Buy’s Geek Squad computer technicians as informants to poke around customers’ files and report suspicious activity. And in the waning days of the Obama administration, Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed an order making the NSA’s raw, unscrubbed spying data available to numerous other government agencies without a warrant.

These invasions of Americans’ privacy have not received the congressional attention needed to restore citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights, but the House Oversight Committee, in a yearlong investigation, did address yet another potential abuse of privacy: law enforcement’s use of cell-site simulators.

Despite bitter partisan divides in Washington, this is an example of an issue on which freedom-loving politicians from both sides of the aisle should be able to work together – halting the erosion of what little privacy we have left.


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