U.S. Customs and Border Protection purchased technology that vacuums up reams of personal information stored inside cars, according to a federal contract reviewed by The Intercept, illustrating the serious risks in connecting your vehicle and your smartphone.
The contract, shared with The Intercept by Latinx advocacy organization Mijente, shows that CBP paid Swedish data extraction firm MSAB $456,073 for a bundle of hardware including five iVe “vehicle forensics kits” manufactured by Berla, an American company. A related document indicates that CBP believed the kit would be “critical in CBP investigations as it can provide evidence [not only] regarding the vehicle’s use, but also information obtained through mobile devices paired with the infotainment system.” The document went on to say that iVe was the only tool available for purchase that could tap into such systems.
According to statements by Berla’s own founder, part of the draw of vacuuming data out of cars is that so many drivers are oblivious to the fact that their cars are generating so much data in the first place, often including extremely sensitive information inadvertently synced from smartphones.
Earlier: Biden Admin Wants to Outsource Spying on Americans to Private Firms to Bypass Fourth Amendment.
The Biden administration is considering using private firms to track the online activity of American citizens in order to get around the Fourth Amendment and other laws that protect Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures and surveillance. The report says that the Biden administration wants to monitor “extremist chatter by Americans online” but can’t do so without a warrant, and thinks private firms can get around the legal restrictions.
Federal authorities “can only browse through unprotected information on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and other open online platforms,” according to CNN.
The plan being discussed inside DHS, according to multiple sources, would, in effect, allow the department to circumvent” restrictions the U.S. government has to surveil American citizens. “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.