The Trump administration purchased a commercial database that maps the movements of millions of cellphones in the U.S. It is understood that it used that data for immigration and border enforcement purposes.
Government Using App Data For Border Enforcement
The database is thought to be one of the largest bulk data collections used in the U.S. The administration is believed to be acting lawfully as it bought the data from a commercial vendor. However, that theory is yet to be tested in court.
The data is gathered from a variety of standard apps, including those used for gaming, monitoring the weather, and shopping. Authorities then use that information to track undocumented migrants and those who may have illegally entered the U.S. Some identified this way were later arrested.
Alan Butler, general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the Wall Street Journal:
This is a classic situation where creeping commercial surveillance in the private sector is now bleeding directly over into government.