ACLU Releases +1,800 Documents Obtained from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement Won via Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit

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:

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Somalian Refugees File Lawsuit Against Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Citing 1st Amendment Violations

Along with the help of Americans for Immigrant Justice and Muslim Advocates, two national civil rights organizations fighting for equality, a group of 20 Somalian refugees are suing the State of Florida and national Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for what they deem to be violations of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution while being detained by Donald Trumps Government over the course of the last 15 months. Officially filed in a Florida District Court room yesterday, February 27th 2019, the 32 page lawsuit alleges that, ever since being detained more than one year ago today, ICE officials have prevented the Somalian detainees from freely being able to “practice their faith in various ways” – acts which constitute a clear violation of the Constitution.

According to a joint statement from both the groups representing the Somalian immigrants, the lawsuit hopes to “ensure that, going forward, Glades County, Florida is going to treat Muslim detainees and detainees of all faiths respectfully.” Adding that “It’s important to us that ICE take the protection of immigration detainees seriously and that it actually enforce its detention standards.” According to a separate report from The Intercept yesterday, “the lawsuit is just the latest development in a nearly 15-month-old saga for a group of Somalis whom ICE tried, and failed, to deport in December 2017.” Explaining how “their deportation flight to Somalia was interrupted by a technical problem with the airplane; after spending more than 24 hours in shackles on a runway in Dakar, Senegal, they were brought back to the United States” – where they have continued to remain detained ever since.

Official Copy of Lawsuit:

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FBI & 10 US Federal Agencies Sued In Class Action Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit

Having been heavily entrenched in this industry for the better part of the last 4 years, one of the most interesting themes I keep running across are the outright illegal actions of the US Government, and how various agencies, offices and departments operating under its umbrella continue to get away with or justify their use of Black-Hat hacking in “law enforcement” and/or “national security.” What I mean to say is that in accordance with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, any unauthorized access to another persons devices, online accounts or computers is a felony. Quite literally, that’s the law -at least if you are a US civilian, that is.

It is also a generally known fact that many, if not most of the worlds most dangerous hackers work directly for various Governments – including here in the US. In fact, you might recall a 2016 documentary by VICE News entitled “Cyber War,” in which a current NSA contractor accounts his first day at work, explaining how he was sat down in front of his computer and told by his supervisor nothing more than “go be a hacking God.

In that spirit, you might also remember how the FBI had to lobby Congress to pass new Amendments to Rule 41 after their investigations into PlayPen was ruled unconstitutional and illegal, allowing pedophiles to walk free? Or remember when the FBI payed Celebrite to hack Apples iOS in 2015 after the company declined to unlock their devices? Or when the FBI payed another 1 million dollars to develop an exploit to Tor? How about the fact that, under Barack Obama, the CIA was caught illegally wiretapping Angela Merkel and other US allies in Europe? Remember when the CIA hacked the FBI’s biometric databases while the FBI was actively engaged in a lawsuit for keeping this data secret from the US public? How about when the Russian Shadow Brokers stole illegal hacking tools and exploits from the NSA before selling them online? Or when Wikileaks released the contents of Vault 7, exposing dozens of illegal hacking tools and exploits used to conduct cyber espionage operations around the world and here in the US?

My point here is, our Federal Government is completely illegal and out of control – operating with absolutely no accountability or oversight whatsoever, breaking the same laws that they use to govern society. Not only have these agencies gone on to loose control of the very illegal hacking tools and exploits they’ve secretly manufactured, but they have also landed these tools straight into the hands of some of our countries greatest enemies – jeopardizing our very National Security because of our own reckless ambitions to “Clandestinely” ‘hack the world.’

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To this effect, the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU), Privacy International and the University at Buffalo Law School’s Civil Liberties & Transparency Clinic have recently just filed a class action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against 11 US Federal agencies and department over what they deem to be their use of “legalized hacking” against US citizens. Officially filed in a District of New York court room on December 21st 2018, at the very least, the lawsuit hopes to discover what exactly the US Government’s logic is for carrying out so many hacking operations here in the US, knowing full well their actions would be considered felonies if anyone else in public did the same things. They also hope to uncover the methodology through which the Government goes about selecting targets and what safe guards, if any, are in place to prevent abuses.

According to a joint press release posted to their website, the ACLU explains that “the lawsuit demands that the agencies disclose which hacking tools and methods they use, how often they use them, the legal basis for employing these methods, and any internal rules that govern them. We are also seeking any internal audits or investigations related to their use.” The US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Justice, Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Border Control, Internal Revenue Service, Secret Service, Office of the Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Treasury are all implicated in the lawsuit.

Download Lawsuit Here: https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/pi_v._fbi_-_hacking_foia_-_complaint_-_as_filed.pdf

Full Copy of Lawsuit:

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