Tech Firms Forced to Hand Over Data to US Immigration Under Scrutiny

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  • The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (Ice) has sent over 500 administrative subpoenas to tech giants, including Google, Twitter, and Meta, to obtain sensitive personal information of their users without showing probable cause. Administrative subpoenas are not court-certified, which means companies are not legally required to comply until a judge compels them to.
  • Ice’s broad surveillance of migrants through administrative subpoenas is alarming and invasive, and the lack of court certification for such subpoenas highlights the need for more transparency and oversight when it comes to government surveillance of migrants.
  • The practice of sending administrative subpoenas to tech companies is not new and is not limited to Ice. Other government agencies have also used these subpoenas to obtain personal information from tech companies, but the sheer number of subpoenas sent by Ice to tech giants is concerning.

The controversial tool used by US Immigration to obtain data from tech firms has been exposed, raising concerns among privacy advocates. The tool, known as the “Detective Product,” allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to access a vast amount of data, including social media accounts, location history, and phone records.

According to a report by The Intercept, the tool was created by Palantir Technologies, a data-mining company co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel. The report also revealed that Palantir employees have been working directly with ICE agents, providing them with training on how to use the tool.

Immigration advocates have long criticized the tool, saying that it allows ICE agents to collect information on immigrants without their knowledge or consent. Some have also raised concerns that the data collected could be used to target individuals based on their religion, ethnicity, or political beliefs.

The exposure of the Detective Product has led to calls for greater oversight of ICE and its use of technology. In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called for an immediate investigation into the tool’s use, stating that “Palantir’s technology has tremendous potential for abuse by enabling ICE to profile and target immigrants and activists.”

The controversy surrounding the Detective Product is just one of many issues facing US Immigration at the moment. The agency has been criticized for its treatment of immigrants, particularly those seeking asylum, as well as its use of detention centers.

As the debate over immigration policy continues, the use of technology by ICE is likely to remain a contentious issue. Privacy advocates will be watching closely for any further developments in this ongoing saga.

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