A U.S. congresswoman from Arizona has signed onto a letter with her House of Representatives colleagues demanding information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the organization’s data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I joined [Rep. Kelly Armstong (R-ND)]’s letter to CDC Director Walensky to demand answers about the CDC’s legal authority to obtain Americans’ location data. This violates the rights of Americans!” Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) said.
I joined @RepArmstrongND's letter to CDC Director Walensky to demand answers about the CDC’s legal authority to obtain Americans’ location data. This violates the rights of Americans! https://t.co/O1zcyAdkpH
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) May 19, 2022
The letter says that the CDC purchased location data from Americans’ cellphones to determine whether they were following lockdown procedures, citing a news report from Vice.
According to the letter, the CDC paid $420,000 for the data, and specifically tracked whether Americans were going to “places of worship” and schools.
“It is essential we understand the CDC’s public health justifications in obtaining this data, as the collection of location information raises serious concerns that the CDC sought to engage in domestic surveillance of Americans,” the 18 members of Congress who signed onto the letter said.
“It is imperative that Congress learn the full scope and specifics of the CDC’s location data collection practices, especially concerning whether the data contains personally identifiable information or material that could lead to reidentification,” they said, and that”this report must be viewed in the context of the CDC’s expansive interpretations of existing statutory authority concerning public health and the COVID-19 pandemic. The public’s trust in the CDC has been severely undermined in recent years. The unauthorized purchase of Americans’ location data will only further degrade the CDC’s reputation and ability to carry out its mission.”
Lesko’s office did not return a Thursday comment request.
The CDC has faced backlash from Americans over its heavy-handed approach to COVID-19 restrictions.
Most recently, a judge struck down the government organization’s attempt to keep mask mandates in place for airline passengers. The judge said the CDC could not provide a valid justification for keeping the mandates in place.
In response, America’s four largest airlines immediately dropped their mask rules, which had been in place for two years.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Debbie Lesko” by Debbie Lesko. Background Photo “COVID Tracker” by Marco Verch Professional Photographer. CC BY 2.0.