ICE Is Hauling In More Data Than Ever And Palantir Is Helping It Turn Data Into Detainments

from the surveillance-state-adds-surveillance-capitalism dept

ICE has gotten bigger and bolder under the Trump Administration. The minimal constraints placed on it by previous administrations have been removed, allowing the agency to gorge on data and engage in widespread surveillance. Billions of dollars and an untold amount of tech are being thrown at a “problem” that isn’t even criminal. Living in this country while undocumented is a civil violation, but ICE (and the Administration) treats it as one of the most severe threats to the nation.

America is apparently going to be made great by tossing out those aspiring to be Americans, or at the very least just trying to escape the horrors or poverty of their native countries. To ensure ICE can remove as many people as possible, the agency has tapped into national ALPR databases, run facial recognition searches against drivers license databases, and hooked up with a tech company nearly as reviled as ICE is.

But that’s not the full extent of ICE’s surveillance/deportation efforts. As Alvaro M. Bedoya reports for Slate, the agency is leveraging everything it can get it hands on to ensure a steady flow of undocumented immigrants out of this country.

In 2017, breaking with prior practice, ICE started to use data from interviews with scared, detained kids and their relatives to find and arrest more than 500 sponsors who stepped forward to take in the children. At the same time, ICE announced a plan for a social media monitoring program that would use artificial intelligence to automatically flag 10,000 people per month for deportation investigations. (It was scuttled only when computer scientists helpfully indicated that the proposed system was impossible.)

And it’s not enough for immigrants to steer clear of the entities that may help them get ejected from the country. ICE is all over anything that might lead it to more deportees.

Many immigrants avoid contact with any government agency, even the DMV, but they can’t go without heat, electricity, or water; ICE aimed to find them, too. So, that same year, ICE paid for access to a private database that includes the addresses of customers from 80 national and regional electric, cable, gas, and telephone companies.

There’s a private company weaving this massive amount of data into usable intel for ICE. Palantir provides the software that analyzes data, builds profiles, and makes sense of ICE’s massive data stash. The company even fills in any blanks ICE might have by adding in information purchased from data brokers.

Palantir doesn’t like to talk about its work with ICE. Bedoya points out the company’s most recent securities filing makes no mention of ICE or the company’s assistance in tracking down undocumented immigrants. It prefers to discuss its military customers and its supposed commitment to keeping this country safe. When asked directly about ICE, Palantir has downplayed its involvement. This is how Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, spins things.

When criticized, Karp has described Palantir’s work for ICE as “limited,” “a de minimis part of our work”—strange things for American contractor to say about its secondlargest U.S. government client.

This toxic partnership has done little to damage Palantir’s reputation — at least as far as investors are concerned. Its work with ICE targets what many consider to be unimportant people: immigrants who are in the country illegally. If the company is good at what it does and customers like ICE are happy and willing to sign multi-million dollar contracts, any moral and legal qualms shareholders might have will be papered over with money.

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Comments on “ICE Is Hauling In More Data Than Ever And Palantir Is Helping It Turn Data Into Detainments”

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25 Comments
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Not Just Civil

Koby! I thought it was only section 230 that you were wilfully ignorant and/or lying about, but here you are misrepresenting other law!

The word misdemeanour might be useful to you here, as would be the main section 8 U.S. Code § 1325 which is usually applied, and carries the following penalty:

(b)Improper time or place; civil penaltiesAny alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of—
(1)at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or
(2)twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.
Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.

It should embarrass you that I’m so much better versed in US law than you are, but if you didn’t have your fictions what would you complain about?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Does anyone else have the fantasy?

Some day there will be ICE hunters, people who investigate to track down every last employee of ICE to bring them to justice.

Most ICE hunters seek to drag ex-ICE to international tribune for the human atrocities in which they were complicit. When they’re lucky they get one of the known names, those who were hands on and tortured and even killed detainees.

Other ICE hunters are dissatisfied with imprisonment, given among ICE are some of the cruelest monsters humankind has manifest. Instead they’re dragged to some isolated place to suffer the sort of ending Edgar Allen Poe might write about in a place where their screams will be heard by no-one.

It was cold comfort after the war, as many of the SS — sometimes the worst of the monsters — escaped and lived long lives. But maybe it can happen for the United States, and we do have better resources to trace what atrocities occurred, who did them, and where those people are now.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

restless94110 (profile) says:

A threat

"Living in this country while undocumented is a civil violation, but ICE (and the Administration) treats it as one of the most severe threats to the nation."

It is irrefutable that illegal immigration severely impacts black employment and black wages in the most negative way. In fact, any American at the low end of the skill set.

Thus it does not matter whether the violation is civil or criminal. And it is one of the most severe threats to the nation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A threat

"It is irrefutable that illegal immigration severely impacts black employment and black wages in the most negative way."

Then it would be simple for you to supply a link.

The difference between civil and criminal violation does matter, your rational is weak to non existent.

Please explain how illegal immigration is a severe threat to the nation. As opposed to a coup or global warming or WWIII … because I would think those represent a severe threat.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: White immigrants

California has multiple districts of Russian and Ukrainian immigrants who are do a lot of exactly that and are conspicuously unmolested by ICE or CBP.

I used to go to one for outstanding Pirozhki and Napoleons.

And not that I wish them unwell, but it is curious that their pasty faces seem to be off the hunt-and-abuse lists of Trump’s immigration crackdown.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 A threat

"Illegal is illegal, white, brown or green."

Yes. So why do I not hear the same howling and wailing from you people about white Europeans who are in the US illegally, but you lose your shit over a caravan of potential migrants when they’re still 1000 miles away from the border?

"You people just can’t get past that, no matter how much you equivocate."

I can, but your racist asses only think about one type of immigrant. You also attack brown legal immigrants as if they’re illegal, but that’s a different story.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "Go Back To Your Own Country"

What our dear president gave his base is license to hate. They’re not smart about it. They don’t understand the particulars, just that anything not them is other and enemy.

The Republican Party cultivated an instant army over decades. They just didn’t get at the time that an instant army is an army for anyone. For the lowest common denominator.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "illegal is illegal"

a. We all commit felonies. Daily. Most go unenforced, but any time a prosecutor wants your ass, he owns you. (blah, blah 100.00 indictment rate, 980% conviction rate, more incarcerated per capita than any other nation)

b. Remember that with the Nuremburg laws, Jews were illegal. (Not just practicing Judaism, but being a hereditary Jew by 50%.) And plenty of Germans said illegal is illegal.

c. Extrajudicial detention and enhanced interrogation by the United States are legal by its own laws.

So fuck legality. And shame on you for depending legality to define your own morality.

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