LexisNexis to provide giant database of personal information to ICE

lexisnexis to provide giant database of personal

lexisnexis to provide giant database of personal

US – According to papers provided to The Intercept, THE POPULAR LEGAL RESEARCH and data trading company, LexisNexis agreed to a $16.8 million deal to sell information to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Less than two years after the business minimised its links to ICE, claiming it was “not cooperating with them to construct data infrastructure to aid their activities,” the transaction is already garnering criticism from critics.

Although LexisNexis is perhaps best known for its role as an effective tool for academic and legal research, the company also serves the hugely lucrative “risk” industry by offering, according to its website, 10,000 different data points on hundreds of millions of people to organisations like financial institutions and insurance companies that want to.

For example, flag people with a history of fraud. Additionally marketed to law enforcement organisations, LexisNexis Risk Solutions provides “advanced analytics to generate quality investigation leads, develop actionable intelligence, and drive educated decisions” – in other words, to track down and apprehend suspects.

An alternative for CLEAR, a risk industry service run by Thomson Reuters that has been essential to ICE’s deportation efforts, looks to be offered by the LexisNexis ICE contract. The CLEAR contract was about to expire in February, and according to the Washington Post, it was “unclear if the Biden administration will renew the pact or issue a new contract.”

Mijente, a Latinx advocacy group that has highlighted relationships between ICE and digital corporations it claims are benefitting from human rights abuses, including LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters, provided The Intercept with information about LexisNexis’s February 25 ICE contract. 

According to the contract, LexisNexis will give Homeland Security investigators access to billions of records that contain personal data that has been collected from a variety of public and private sources, including credit history, bankruptcy records, licence plate images, and cellular subscriber data. The business will also give police analytical tools to assist them to link these enormous data sets to the appropriate person.

Despite the contract’s lack of specifics, the LexisNexis database’s intended usage is suggested by other ICE papers. Before the contract was signed, a notice asking for a database that could “assist the ICE mission of conducting criminal investigations” and include “a robust analytical research tool for… in-depth exploration of persons of interest and vehicles” was posted online. It was referred to as a “License Plate Reader Subscription.”

Speaking for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Jennifer Richman stated, “Our tool comprises data mostly from public government records.” She would not specify what kinds of data the company would supply ICE under the new contract or what standards, if any, would regulate how this agency utilises it. The Drivers Privacy Protection Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act legislation include the primary non-public data that Congress has permitted for such uses.

Requests for comment from ICE were not answered.

The database would be used by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division, according to the listing. While HSI is entrusted with looking into border-related criminal activity outside immigration crimes, the office routinely collaborates with ICE’s deportation division, Enforcement and Removal Operations, or ERO, to raid and arrest illegal immigrants. 

HSI was described as having “quietly formed the backbone of the White House’s immigration enforcement machinery” in a 2019 report from the Brennan Center for Justice. Its operations increasingly centre on looking into civil immigration offences, assisting ERO with deportations, and monitoring speech that is protected by the First Amendment. Hundreds of local children were too terrified to go to school as a result of the HSI raid on a Tennessee meatpacking facility in 2018, which was covered by The Intercept. Scores of undocumented workers were detained.

The National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center, a division of ERO that aids in “locating aliens convicted of criminal offences and other aliens who are amenable to removal,” including “those who are unlawfully present in the United States,” has used LexisNexis databases since at least 2016 according to budget documents from the Department of Homeland Security.

The size of the dossiers LexisNexis compiles on both citizens and those living illegally is difficult to comprehend. While you can make an effort to utilise defences against surveillance technologies like phone monitoring or facial recognition, it is extremely challenging to function in contemporary society without creating the kinds of computerised data that LexisNexis acquires and offers for sale.

The size of the dossiers LexisNexis compiles on both citizens and those living illegally is difficult to comprehend. While you can make an effort to utilise defences against surveillance technologies like phone monitoring or facial recognition, it is extremely challenging to function in contemporary society without creating the kinds of computerised data that LexisNexis acquires and offers for sale.

The company’s databases provide an oceanic computerised view of a person’s life; by combining information about your past residences, employment locations, purchases, debts, legal troubles, relationships with family members, driving record, and thousands of other breadcrumbs, even people who are particularly private can be identified and tracked through this type of digital mosaic.

LexisNexis has done more than just compile all of this information: The business asserts to have 283 million separate individual dossiers with 99.99% correctness linked to “LexIDs,” special identification numbers that make it considerably simpler to get all the information amassed about a person. The danger of such a database is obvious to an undocumented immigrant living in the United States.

The scope of the data sold by LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters is equally clear for those looking to monitor large populations, which explains why both companies are listed as official data “partners” of Palantir, a software company whose catalogue includes products designed to track down individuals by gorging on massive datasets.

Through this agreement, law enforcement agencies can more easily snoop on migrants or round them up for deportation because investigators can import information from the databases of the two corporations directly into Palantir data-mining tools. Sarah Lamdan, a law professor and expert on government data access networks at City University of New York, said, “I relate what they supply to the blood that runs through the circulation system.”

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