Government attorneys assert it is legal for their agencies to simply open the government purse and buy our data scraped from apps and social media, no warrant needed. When further challenged, the government’s ultimate fallback is a claim that a Reagan-era executive order, known as E.O. 12333, means that it needs no statutory authority to look at whatever it wants.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Congress created the Freedom of Information Act in 1967 at a time when lawless surveillance of Americans by the FBI and CIA was rampant.