The other day I came across an interesting release of documents obtained by the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) as the result of a recent Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (FOIA) against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In this particular instance, the documents demonstrate the lengths to which different US Federal Agencies, including ICE, go in order to carry out what’s refereed to as “Mass Surveillance” against US citizens, immigrants and/or illegal aliens. More specifically, included within the +1,800 documents released to the public last week are various contracts used by ICE to go about tracking or collecting information on various targets, as well as internal memo’s and emails detailing how ICE agents use existing networks/data centers to go about tracking these individuals online.
As was reported by the ACLU last week, March 13th 2019, “records obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit detail ICE’s sweeping use of a vast automated license plate reader (ALPR) database run by a company called Vigilant Solutions.” Explaining how “over 9,000 ICE officers have gained access to the Vigilant system under a $6.1 million contract.” As a result, ICE now has “access to over 5 billion data points of location information collected by private businesses, like insurance companies and parking lots, and can gain access to an additional 1.5 billion records collected by law enforcement agencies.”
According to the records, a little more than 80 law enforcement agencies country-wide have already signed up for this program and have already begun sharing their license plate data record with ICE. In many instances, in light of the evidence uncovered in the FOIA documents, the ACLU has also found these data transfers to be in direct violation of localized data sharing laws and ICE’s own internal policies. Making matters worse, ICE’s $6.1 million dollar contract with Vigilant isn’t set to expire until September 2020. At the present moment in time it’s estimated that Vigilant‘s databases contain over 5 billion license plate scans, enough informationto cover the movements of 150-200 millions citizens across any state – roughly 60% of the combined population of the United States. You can find all of this information and more via the newly declassified +1,800 pages of material provided below.
Original Press Release from ACLU: https://www.aclunc.org/blog/documents-reveal-ice-using-driver-location-data-local-police-deportations
Download FOIA Documents for Yourself: https://www.aclunc.org/docs/DOCS_031319.pdf
Full Cache of Documents Won/Released via FOIA Lawsuit:ICE_FOIA_Documents_Database_Tracking