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Archive for July 8th, 2019

FBI, ICE Scan Driver’s License Databases to Conduct Facial-Recognition Searches

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been given access to driver’s license photos to conduct facial-recognition scans without motorists’ consent.

ICE officials were authorized by three states to use the repositories of license photos to scan through facial-recognition technology in search of undocumented immigrants, according to documents obtained by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology and first reported by The Washington Post.

The searches involved databases from Utah and Vermont, which complied with ICE’s request to access the photos. In Washington, agents also were given permission to scan license photos, but it wasn’t immediately clear if those searches were carried out.

The discovery comes as Congress considers a moratorium on facial-recognition technology because of serious concerns over privacy rights and the inaccuracy of the systems. Researchers said the technology is racially biased and prone to errors, which could lead to false arrests.

“Law enforcement’s access of state databases,” particularly driver’s license databases, is “often done in the shadows with no consent,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md. said in a statement to The Post.

San Francisco became the first city to ban the technology. In Detroit and Chicago, police departments have software that enables them to conduct facial-recognition searches in real-time.

Homeland Security: CBP Agents Disciplined for Offensive Facebook Posts

Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on ABC’s “This Week.”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection agents who posted offensive and sexually demeaning content on Facebook have been disciplined, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told ABC’s “This Week.”

McAleenan said some agents were placed on “administrative duties” and others were warned to stop the conduct in letters. He did not specify how many agents were involved.

“The agents will be held accountable if they are CBP employees who did inappropriate things. I don’t think it’s reflective of the men and women we have,” McAleenan said.

The Facebook page, called “I’m 10-15,” was first reported by ProPublica on Monday. The page is used by current and former agents.

The Facebook group included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
 One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

Commenters also questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

When ProPublica approached CBP about the Facebook group, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost denied knowing about it and pledged to launch an investigation.

But Politico reported that CBP officials knew about a secret, sexist and demeaning Facebook group for at least three years. In 2016, Border Patrol agents reported offensive photos that included simulated sex acts and other offensive material, a current Homeland Security official told Politico.

McAleenan on Sunday said he “was not aware of this group” at the time. Since then, he claimed, one agent was disciplined.

Politico received screenshots of Facebook posts that were reported to CBP. One agent appeared in two photos, one of which showed him simulating sex with a training mannequin. The other showed the agent smiling and posing with what appeared to be a human skull. In a third photo, an agent appeared to be defecting in the Arizona desert.

The reported photos resulted in a now-closed investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility.