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Palantir's Software Played Key Role In ICE Deportations, Documents Reveal

Since its founding in 2003, data-mining firm Palantir has made quite a name for itself because of its willingness to work with law enforcement and government agencies. In December, Palantir sent a statement to the New York Times after reports that the company renewed a $38 million contract with Immigrant and Customs Enforcement(ICE). There are two main divisions of ICE: Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations(E.R.O). Palantir was explicit in saying that it did not work for E.R.O. In fact, in the statement Palantir said “We do not work for E.R.O.” Recent revelations have shown that’s not entirely true. Documents obtained by the American Immigration Council and other advocacy groups through Freedom of Information Act litigation reveal that the company was more involved with deportation, detention, and family separation than it cared to admit. Using Palantir’s software, ICE agents built profiles of immigrant children and their family members. According...

May 3, 2019

Border Officials Are Checking Phones Without Warrants. The ACLU Says Its Illegal and Must Stop

In September 2017 , the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the federal government for searching phones and laptops at airports or other U.S. ports of entry without a warrant or cause for suspicion. To prepare for trial, the ACLU and EFF received documents and deposition testimonies from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As it turns out, CBP and ICE not only authorized border officials to search phones and laptops, but they could also “consider requests from other government agencies when deciding whether to conduct such warrantless searches.” Now, the ACLU and EFF are asking a federal court to rule without tria l that the Department of Homeland Security violates First and Fourth Amendment rights with its warrantless search processes. Esha Bhandari, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology project, said: “This new evidence reveals that government agencies are...

May 1, 2019

California May Ban Contracts With Tech Companies Working With ICE

Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has consistently demonstrated an interest in using tech to target immigrant communities. Now, in California, lawmakers are considering terminating all contracts with tech companies that work with ICE and banning the state from investing in them. The Sanctuary State Contracting and Investment Act was introduced by Democrat Assemblyman Rob Bonta. If the bill passes, state and local agencies would be prohibited from entering into contracts with companies providing a federal immigration agency with any data broker, extreme vetting, or detention facilities services “unless the state or local agency has made a finding that no reasonable alternative exists.” If passed, the California Department of Justice would compile and publish a list of all contractors working with ICE that people could consult as a resource. Although California already prohibits state and local agencies from directly sharing data with ICE, it’s happened...

Apr 23, 2019

ICE Has Access To a Huge License-Plate Database That It Uses To Track Immigrants, ACLU Reveals

On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released documents showing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has access to a huge license-plate database that it uses to track and target immigrants. The ACLU of Northern California obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that revealed ICE’s use of a automated license plate reader (ALPR) database operated by a company called Vigilant Solutions . ALPR systems not only pass on license plate information, but they include time, date, and location from thousands of cameras. The ACLU previously outlined how ALPRs record Americans’ movements and called them an emerging form of mass surveillance. More than 9,200 ICE employees can use the database, which collects upwards of a hundred million license plates each month. According to the ACLU, ICE itself has over 5 billion data points collected by private businesses — such as insurance companies and parking lots. But, ICE can gain access to 1.5...

Mar 13, 2019