ICE ‘Now Operates As a Domestic Surveillance Agency,’ Think Tank Says
The researchers spent two years looking into ICE to put together the extensive report, which is called “American Dragnet: Data-Driven Deportation in the 21st Century.” They obtained information by filing hundreds of freedom of information requests and scouring more than 100,000 contracts and procurement records. The agency is said to be using data from the Department of Motor Vehicles and utility companies, along with the likes of call records, child welfare records, phone location data, healthcare records and social media posts. ICE is now said to hold driver’s license data for 74 percent of adults and can track the movement of cars in cities that are home to 70 percent of the adult population in the US.
The study shows that ICE, which falls under the Department of Homeland Security, has already used facial recognition technology to search through driver’s license photos of a third of adults in the US. In 2020, the agency signed a deal with Clearview AI to use that company’s controversial technology. In addition, the report states that when 74 percent of adults hook up gas, electricity, phone or internet utilities in a new residence, ICE was able to automatically find out their updated address. The authors wrote that ICE is able to carry out these actions in secret and without warrants. Along with the data it acquired from other government departments, utilities, private companies and third-party data brokers, “the power of algorithmic tools for sorting, matching, searching and analysis has dramatically expanded the scope and regularity of ICE surveillance,” the report states. The agency spent around $2.8 billion on “new surveillance, data collection and data-sharing initiatives,” according to the report. Approximately $569 million was spent on data analsys, including $186.6 million in contracts with Plantir Technologies.
“ICE also spent more than $1.3 billion on geolocation tech during that timeframe and $389 million on telecom interception, which includes tech that helps the agency track someone’s phone calls, emails, social media activity and real-time internet use,” adds Engadget.
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