Extreme vetting France-Germany


Donald Trump: Extreme vetting France-Germany


Even America’s closest allies may be subject to “extreme vetting.”


Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said at a tech industry conference last week they are seeking algorithms that can “conduct ongoing social media surveillance” of visa holders that are considered high risk, according to ProPublica.

Why it matters: The announcement of the program, later named “Visa Lifecycle Vetting,” spurred backlash from civil liberty groups and immigrants. ProPublica notes that, taken in conjunction with Trump’s calls for “extreme vetting” and his campaign proposal for a Muslim ban, there is concern it could be discriminatory toward Muslim visa holders.

Acting deputy association director for information management at ICE Homeland Security Investigations, Alysa Erichs, said the goal is to have “automated notifications about any visa holders’ social media activity that could ‘ping us as a potential alert.'”



Prompted by President Donald Trump’s campaign call for “extreme vetting” to prevent foreign terrorists from entering the United States, the government is considering strict guidelines that would require embassies to spend more time interviewing visa applicants, the Journal reported.

 The vetting procedure could affect people around the world, including visitors from 38 countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program, including France, Germany, and Australia.

Extreme Digital Vetting of Visitors to the U.S. Moves Forward Under a New Name

ICE officials have invited tech companies, including Microsoft, to develop algorithms that will track visa holders’ social media activity.

  • ICE officials said they are seeking algorithms to conduct ongoing social media surveillance of visa holders deemed high risk.
  • For this targeted group of visa holders, ICE’s online monitoring of public social media posts would be large-scale and non-stop.
  • The meeting included representatives from companies like Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte and Motorola Solutions.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands at the border fence in Nogales, Ariz.


U.S. Border Patrol agent stands at the border fence in Nogales, Ariz.

The Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement is taking new steps in its plans for monitoring the social media accounts of applicants and holders of U.S. visas. At a tech industry conference last Thursday in Arlington, Virginia, ICE officials explained to software providers what they are seeking: algorithms that would assess potential threats posed by visa holders in the United States and conduct ongoing social media surveillance of those deemed high risk.

The comments provide the first clear blueprint for ICE’s proposed augmentation of its visa-vetting program. The initial announcement of the plans this summer, viewed as part of President Donald Trump’s calls for the “extreme vetting” of visitors from Muslim countries, stoked a public outcry from immigrants and civil liberties advocates. They argued that such a plan would discriminate against Muslim visitors and potentially place a huge number of individuals under watch.

ICE officials subsequently changed the program’s name to “Visa Lifecycle Vetting.” But, according to the ICE presentation, the goal of the initiative — enhanced monitoring of visa holders using social media — remains the same.

 



Speaking to a room of information-technology contractors, hosted by the Government Technology & Services Coalition, Louis Rodi, deputy assistant director of ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ National Security Program, said the agency needs a tool equipped with “risk-based matrices” to predict dangers posed by visa holders, with the social media of those considered a threat under continuous surveillance throughout their stay in the U.S.

“We have millions and millions and millions of people coming every year, and subsequently departing, so we have to be smart about it,” said Rodi to a room of representatives from companies like Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte and Motorola Solutions. “And I’m sure there are tools out there that can help.”

For this targeted group of visa holders, ICE’s online monitoring of public social media posts would be large-scale and non-stop. “Everything we’re dealing with is in bulk, so we need batch-vetting capabilities for any of the processes that we have,” said Rodi. Alysa Erichs, ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ acting deputy association director for information management, told attendees that ICE hopes to get automated notifications about any visa holders’ social media activity that could “ping us as a potential alert.”



 

ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell stressed to ProPublica that the Department of Homeland Security has not actually begun building any such program. “The request for information on this initiative was simply that — an opportunity to gather information from industry professionals and other government agencies on current technological capabilities to determine the best way forward,” Cutrell wrote in an email. The program would require clearance from numerous DHS units, including the Privacy Office and the Principal Legal Advisor, before it could be implemented, according to a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In his speech, Rodi referred to meetings ICE has had with companies but did not mention any frontrunners. The major tech companies present at the conference, including Microsoft, Accenture and Deloitte, either declined to comment or didn’t respond to ProPublica‘s request to comment about their level of interest in providing technology for the vetting program. Microsoft has opposed Trump’s immigration policies, and several Microsoft researchers have publicly called for ICE to stop spying on visitors’ social media.

ICE is already monitoring some social media at eight Homeland Security Investigation posts internationally, Rodi said, and the plan is to expand to more sites. In response to a question posed by ProPublica from the audience, he stated that the department was open to other social media monitoring techniques, such as link analysis (which helps authorities map out applicants’ online connections), so long as they solely rely on public posts.

The ICE officials emphasized the Trump administration’s strict stance. “This administration is big on immigration enforcement, so we’re not going to look the other way like we have in the past when we have overstays,” said Rodi. “Maybe it’s an administrative violation — it’s still a crime. These people need to pay. They can’t get away with it.”

Some analysts argue that gathering social media data is necessary. ICE already has a tool that searches for connections to terrorists, according to Claude Arnold, a former ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agent, now with the security firm Frontier Solutions. But, he said, potential terrorist threats often come from countries, such as Iraq or Syria, that provide little intelligence to U.S. authorities. As a result, in Arnold’s view, social media information is all the more important.

Privacy advocates take a darker view. “ICE is building a dangerously broad tool that could be used to justify excluding, or deporting, almost anyone,” said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology. “They are talking about this as a targeted tool, but the numbers tell a different story.”

Bedoya noted that the program outline originally anticipated that the monitoring would identify 10,000 high-risk visa holders a year. That suggests the pool of people under social media surveillance would be many orders of magnitude larger. (ICE officials did not address this point at the conference.)

Last week, a coalition of academics and technologists warned in a public letter that ICE’s interest in using big data algorithms to assess risk is misguided, given how rare it is for foreign visitors to be involved in terrorist attacks in the U.S. That means there’s little historical data to mine in hopes of using it to design a new algorithm. The letter cited a Cato Institute analysis that found that the likelihood of an American dying in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in any given year was 1 in 3.6 million in the period between 1975 and 2015.

Cathy O’Neil, one of the signatories to that letter and author of “Weapons of Math Destruction,” told this reporter in August that any algorithm a company proposes would come built-in with some very human calculations. “At the end of the day, someone has to choose a ratio,” she said. “How many innocent false positives are you going to keep out of the country for each false negative?”

Thus far, social media monitoring of visa applicants has not identified any potential threats that wouldn’t have turned up in existing government databases, Rodi acknowledged. “We haven’t found anything that would preclude someone from getting a visa through social media alone,” he said. “But, you never know, the day may come when social media will actually find someone that wasn’t in the government systems we check.”

That argument doesn’t placate those who believe ICE’s vetting is already exhaustive. Social media surveillance would be difficult to carry out without collecting collateral data on thousands of American citizens in the process, said Rachel Levinson-Waldman, senior counsel to the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program.

“Generally, with surveillance technologies, they are adopted for national security purposes overseas, but are then brought stateside pretty quickly,” she said, citing practices first honed overseas, such as intercepting cellphone calls. “So once there’s some kind of dragnet surveillance tool or information collection tool in place for one purpose, slippage can happen, and it will expand and expand.”


Extreme Digital Vetting of Visitors to the U.S. Moves Forward Under a New Name

ICE officials have invited tech companies, including Microsoft, to develop algorithms that will track visa holders’ social media activity.


U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at an ICE center in Camarillo, California, in 2015 (John Moore/Getty Images)

The Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement is taking new steps in its plans for monitoring the social media accounts of applicants and holders of U.S. visas. At a tech industry conference last Thursday in Arlington, Virginia, ICE officials explained to software providers what they are seeking: algorithms that would assess potential threats posed by visa holders in the United States and conduct ongoing social media surveillance of those deemed high risk.

The comments provide the first clear blueprint for ICE’s proposed augmentation of its visa-vetting program. The initial announcement of the plans this summer, viewed as part of President Donald Trump’s calls for the “extreme vetting” of visitors from Muslim countries, stoked a public outcry from immigrants and civil liberties advocates. They argued that such a plan would discriminate against Muslim visitors and potentially place a huge number of individuals under watch.

ICE officials subsequently changed the program’s name to “Visa Lifecycle Vetting.” But, according to the ICE presentation, the goal of the initiative — enhanced monitoring of visa holders using social media — remains the same.

Speaking to a room of information-technology contractors, hosted by the Government Technology & Services Coalition, Louis Rodi, deputy assistant director of ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ National Security Program, said the agency needs a tool equipped with “risk-based matrices” to predict dangers posed by visa holders, with the social media of those considered a threat under continuous surveillance throughout their stay in the U.S.

“We have millions and millions and millions of people coming every year, and subsequently departing, so we have to be smart about it,” said Rodi to a room of representatives from companies like Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte and Motorola Solutions. “And I’m sure there are tools out there that can help.”

For this targeted group of visa holders, ICE’s online monitoring of public social media posts would be large-scale and non-stop. “Everything we’re dealing with is in bulk, so we need batch-vetting capabilities for any of the processes that we have,” said Rodi. Alysa Erichs, ICE Homeland Security Investigations’ acting deputy association director for information management, told attendees that ICE hopes to get automated notifications about any visa holders’ social media activity that could “ping us as a potential alert.”

ICE spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell stressed to ProPublica that the Department of Homeland Security has not actually begun building any such program. “The request for information on this initiative was simply that — an opportunity to gather information from industry professionals and other government agencies on current technological capabilities to determine the best way forward,” Cutrell wrote in an email. The program would require clearance from numerous DHS units, including the Privacy Office and the Principal Legal Advisor, before it could be implemented, according to a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In his speech, Rodi referred to meetings ICE has had with companies but did not mention any frontrunners. The major tech companies present at the conference, including Microsoft, Accenture and Deloitte, either declined to comment or didn’t respond to ProPublica’s request to comment about their level of interest in providing technology for the vetting program. Microsoft has opposed Trump’s immigration policies, and several Microsoft researchers have publicly called for ICE to stop spying on visitors’ social media.

ICE is already monitoring some social media at eight Homeland Security Investigation posts internationally, Rodi said, and the plan is to expand to more sites. In response to a question posed by ProPublica from the audience, he stated that the department was open to other social media monitoring techniques, such as link analysis (which helps authorities map out applicants’ online connections), so long as they solely rely on public posts.

The ICE officials emphasized the Trump administration’s strict stance. “This administration is big on immigration enforcement, so we’re not going to look the other way like we have in the past when we have overstays,” said Rodi. “Maybe it’s an administrative violation — it’s still a crime. These people need to pay. They can’t get away with it.”

Some analysts argue that gathering social media data is necessary. ICE already has a tool that searches for connections to terrorists, according to Claude Arnold, a former ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agent, now with the security firm Frontier Solutions. But, he said, potential terrorist threats often come from countries, such as Iraq or Syria, that provide little intelligence to U.S. authorities. As a result, in Arnold’s view, social media information is all the more important.

Privacy advocates take a darker view. “ICE is building a dangerously broad tool that could be used to justify excluding, or deporting, almost anyone,” said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology. “They are talking about this as a targeted tool, but the numbers tell a different story.”


Relatives of Undocumented Children Caught Up in ICE Dragnet

In a shift from how it operated during the Obama administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is cracking down on relatives who let undocumented kids stay with them after entering the U.S.

He Was About To Pick Up His Newborn Son After Surgery When He Was Arrested By ICE

The case of Oscar Millan shows ICE’s renewed focus on strict immigration enforcement. Under the Obama administration, agents had discretion in cases of immigrants with gravely sick children.

Bedoya noted that the program outline originally anticipated that the monitoring would identify 10,000 high-risk visa holders a year. That suggests the pool of people under social media surveillance would be many orders of magnitude larger. (ICE officials did not address this point at the conference.)

Last week, a coalition of academics and technologists warned in a public letter that ICE’s interest in using big data algorithms to assess risk is misguided, given how rare it is for foreign visitors to be involved in terrorist attacks in the U.S. That means there’s little historical data to mine in hopes of using it to design a new algorithm. The letter cited a Cato Institute analysis that found that the likelihood of an American dying in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in any given year was 1 in 3.6 million in the period between 1975 and 2015.

Cathy O’Neil, one of the signatories to that letter and author of “Weapons of Math Destruction,” told this reporter in August that any algorithm a company proposes would come built-in with some very human calculations. “At the end of the day, someone has to choose a ratio,” she said. “How many innocent false positives are you going to keep out of the country for each false negative?”

Thus far, social media monitoring of visa applicants has not identified any potential threats that wouldn’t have turned up in existing government databases, Rodi acknowledged. “We haven’t found anything that would preclude someone from getting a visa through social media alone,” he said. “But, you never know, the day may come when social media will actually find someone that wasn’t in the government systems we check.”

That argument doesn’t placate those who believe ICE’s vetting is already exhaustive. Social media surveillance would be difficult to carry out without collecting collateral data on thousands of American citizens in the process, said Rachel Levinson-Waldman, senior counsel to the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program.

“Generally, with surveillance technologies, they are adopted for national security purposes overseas, but are then brought stateside pretty quickly,” she said, citing practices first honed overseas, such as intercepting cellphone calls. “So once there’s some kind of dragnet surveillance tool or information collection tool in place for one purpose, slippage can happen, and it will expand and expand.”

 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

ABCNEWS ADWEEK ATLANTIC AXIOS BBC BILD BILLBOARD BLAZE BOSTON GLOBE BOSTON HERALD BREITBART BUSINESS INSIDER BUZZFEED CBS NEWS CBS NEWS LOCAL CELEBRITY SERVICE C-SPAN CHICAGO SUN-TIMES CHICAGO TRIB CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CNBC CNN DAILY BEAST DAILY CALLER DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD DER SPIEGEL E! ECONOMIST ENT WEEKLY FINANCIAL TIMES FORBES FOXNEWS FRANCE 24 FREE BEACON FREE REPUBLIC HOT AIR HELLO! HILL HILL: JUST IN H'WOOD REPORTER HUFFINGTON POST INFOWARS INTERCEPT JERUSALEM POST LA DAILY NEWS LA TIMES LIFEZETTE LUCIANNE.COM MEDIAITE MOTHER JONES NATION NATIONAL REVIEW NBC NEWS NEW REPUBLIC NEW YORK NY DAILY NEWS NY OBSERVER NY POST NY TIMES NY TIMES WIRE NEW YORKER NEWSBUSTERS NEWSMAX PEOPLE PJ MEDIA POLITICO RADAR REAL CLEAR POLITICS REASON ROLL CALL ROLLING STONE SALON SAN FRAN CHRON SKY NEWS SLATE SMOKING GUN TALKING POINTS MEMO TIME MAG TMZ [UK] DAILY MAIL [UK] DAILY MAIL FEED [UK] DAILY MIRROR [UK] DAILY RECORD [UK] EVENING STANDARD [UK] EXPRESS [UK] GUARDIAN [UK] INDEPENDENT [UK] SUN [UK] TELEGRAPH US NEWS USA TODAY VANITY FAIR VARIETY WALL STREET JOURNAL WASH EXAMINER WASH POST WASH TIMES WEEKLY STANDARD WORLD NET DAILY ZERO HEDGE

3 AM GIRLS CINDY ADAMS MIKE ALLEN BAZ BAMIGBOYE DAVE BARRY FRED BARNES MICHAEL BARONE PAUL BEDARD BIZARRE [SUN] BRENT BOZELL DAVID BROOKS PAT BUCHANAN DYLAN BYERS HOWIE CARR MONA CHAREN CNN: RELIABLE SOURCES [NY DAILY NEWS] CONFIDENTIAL DAVID CORN ANN COULTER LOU DOBBS MAUREEN DOWD LARRY ELDER JOSEPH FARAH RONAN FARROW SUZANNE FIELDS ROGER FRIEDMAN BILL GERTZ JONAH GOLDBERG GLENN GREENWALD LLOYD GROVE HANNITY VICTOR DAVIS HANSON STEPHEN HAYES HUGH HEWITT KATIE HOPKINS DAVID IGNATIUS LAURA INGRAHAM INSIDE BELTWAY RICHARD JOHNSON ALEX JONES MICKEY KAUS KEITH J. KELLY KRAUTHAMMER KRISTOF KRISTOL KRUGMAN HOWIE KURTZ MARK LEVIN DAVID LIMBAUGH RUSH LIMBAUGH RICH LOWRY MICHELLE MALKIN ANDREW MCCARTHY DANA MILBANK PIERS MORGAN DICK MORRIS PEGGY NOONAN PAGE SIX ANDREA PEYSER POLITICO MORNING MEDIA POLITICO PLAYBOOK BILL PRESS WES PRUDEN REX REED RICHARD ROEPER JIM RUTENBERG MICHAEL SAVAGE BRIAN STELTER ROGER STONE CAL THOMAS TV NEWSER JEFF WELLS GEORGE WILL WALTER WILLIAMS BYRON YORK

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE AP TOP AP RADIO BLOOMBERG DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE INTERFAX ITAR-TASS KYODO MCCLATCHY [DC] PRAVDA PRESS TRUST INDIA PR NEWSWIRE REUTERS REUTERS POLITICS REUTERS WORLD XINHUA UPI YONHAP