Ninety Nine Percent discussed on All Things Considered

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Crime have their faces in government databases that's because they have driver's licenses and today we're learning that federal law enforcement agencies have regularly been accessing those DMV databases for facial recognition scans in a moment we'll hear about the broader issues this raises first we're going to look at one specific case late last year an activist group in Vermont called migrant justice filed a lawsuit alleging that my Grint dairy farm workers in the state were being targeted for deportation after they got driver's licenses JDS is an attorney with the ACLU of Vermont he's representing migrant justice in this lawsuit and joins us now welcome thank you for having me what evidence do you have that ice is using DMV information to assist with deportations and remote we have a great deal of evidence the DMV routinely communicate with ice throughout two thousand fifteen to two thousand eighteen we have emails between ice agents Indian V. agents some commending the DMV agents in calling them honorary ice agents so they were sharing a good deal of information particularly about migrant justice numbers but also a whole host of other individuals and it's not just photos it's other information beyond that photos applications for licenses licenses themselves car registration materials the works and they were being selective with what they passed on in one document your lawsuit on covered a state worker passed along what he described as south of the border names to ice that's right as a listener complaint we believe that ice not we use the DMV in order to target migrate assist members and more specifically and more broadly I guess I should say the let next community so people who came in and were applying for driver privilege cards I guess we get special attention from DMV at the time and a lot of those people would then be forwarded on to immigration officials we should have laws vary from state to state in Vermont undocumented immigrants are allowed to have a driver's license as the flow of information from the DMV to ice seem very informal is there supposed to be any kind of oversight for the sort of information sharing well we would like to see over say for the information sharing and in fact we asked for it for a number of years we went to the legislature we spoke with the envy officials but unfortunately we were not able to get the response that we needed to in order to protect immigrant communities from being constantly in fear when they were going to get a license that they would be then targeted by ice can you tell us a specific story about an immigrant who got caught up on this yeah we can talk about he gave Alcazar he's my justice leader he has been outspoken he's received numerous honors from various national organizations for his activism after being pulled over by ice he was told that they got the information through DMV and through other sources we went back and looked at our records and saw that the DMV gave his car registration license and photo two federal immigration officials and that that information was actually use as the justification to arrest him we know of course that his activism played a key role in that as well if an undocumented immigrant came to you today and said I could really use a driver's license in Vermont should I go apply for one what would you tell them I tell them what I tell immigrants now that you know it does come with some risk of that it's an important thing to get if you want to drive legally but it also does come with the risk that the information could eventually end up in the hands of ice were fighting to stop that right now so stay tuned we hope to get a good resolution to our lawsuit but the issue is still pending JTS thank you for speaking with us today thank you so much he's an attorney with the ACLU of Vermont representing migrant justice in its lawsuit against ice the department of homeland security and the Vermont DMV NPR reached out to all three for comment DHS and Vermont DMV said they don't comment on pending litigation ice told us they don't comment on investigative techniques but they point out that acting director Matthew albums has denied a previous claim that the agency targets individuals based on their advocacy now we're going to look more broadly at what's been revealed today about ice turning to DMV offices for help with facial recognition that is using driver's license photographs and algorithms to identify people suspected of being in the country legally now this collaboration was on earth by a team at Georgetown University in here to brief us as an art the Shawnee there are the hi I understand that in the past ice has gone to DMV offices and just ask for records on immigrants we just heard about the case in Vermont that alleges that much what exactly is new here so what wasn't covered is that ice agents while looking for undocumented people ended up having extraordinary access to the state records of American citizens lawyers at Georgetown sent our privacy and technology have been submitting freedom of information lawsuits to DMB there around the country trying to learn what they can about how each state does or doesn't collaborate with ice three states Utah Washington and Vermont handed over documents showing that ice was not just reaching out to them with targeted searches ice agents were not just saying Hey here's a specific person we want their full name and date of birth can you share what you've got on them instead ice was saying Hey we've got a high resolution picture of somebody who entered the U. S. on a visa we believe this person overstayed can you take this picture run it through your database which includes many if not mostly U. S. citizens and give us the faces that match this one basically help us parodies of photos to license photos these requests happen from twenty fifteen to twenty seventeen and I understand according to the Georgetown findings these three states to do it right out handover facial recognition matches size well according to the foyer documents Utah and Vermont did and with Washington it's unclear the agency told The Washington Post which first reported this that they just respond to court orders as you mention NPR also reached out to ice and I'd add that ice the I. spokesperson said that that what they're doing is consistent with what other law enforcement agencies do you now it is important to point out facial recognition has done plenty of good in this world to to help find missing children and reunite with them with their families up but in this instance activists have raised concerns they say there is a bait and switch going on not every state let's undocumented immigrants got a license these three states are among those that do their signaling to undocumented people it is safe to come here and apply for your driver's license but then the DMB is are turning around and handing files over to deportation officers what about the reliability of the technology itself is facial recognition far enough along that we can be counting on it in this way well last year the MIT media lab to study it found that leading software was accurate ninety nine percent of the time when it came to identifying the gender of white males the failure in only one out of a hundred but with darker skinned women it failed to identify them as women one out of three times so that is a huge disparity algarrobo Doria one of the George town lawyers he called the ice DMB tag teaming a dragnet and he says that citizens of color are particularly vulnerable here this is him the question that people need to ask themselves in the states is not am I and documented but rather dislodge seeks recognition algorithm I think that I look like someone who's a document he is not alone in his concerns a San Francisco recently banned the use of facial recognition by police and city agencies the company that's the largest maker of police body cameras says it's not going to sell facial recognition tech for now because it's just not reliable enough experts from some of the biggest companies like Google and Microsoft have petitioned Amazon to stop selling facial recognition tack for that same reason though Amazon Amazon is still selling it including to government agencies so we're seeing very powerful and cities at odds as in pairs are the shining are the thank you thank you secretary of state Mike Pompeii is reviewing the role of human rights in American foreign policy he says he wants to get back to what he calls the basics activists worry about what this may mean for L. G. B. T. people and reproductive rights for women NPR's Michele Kelemen reports secretary Bombay says he wants a foreign policy that takes seriously America's founding ideas of individual liberty and constitutional government so he says it's time to see how the state department's human rights agenda fits into that as human rights claims are proliferated some claims the comet attention with one another provoking questions in clashes about which rights are entitled to gain respect he didn't give any examples as he announced his commission on unalienable rights it's led by is Harvard mentor law professor Mary Ann Glendon basic human rights are being misunderstood by many manipulated by many and ignored by the world's worst human rights violators Glendon is a former US ambassador to the Vatican and a long time opponent of abortion rights she's also written in opposition to the equal status for same sex marriage the conservative family Research Council welcome the new commission saying it will help protect religious freedom which it says is the foundation for all other human rights a former obamacare a state department official robber Shinseki now with human rights first is worried about the make up of the commission pointing out that his former colleagues in the department are not part of it it took it's heavily on scholars and primarily on scholars from a religious background and a conservative religious background another activist luchar but no of Human Rights Watch says there are already examples of the U. S. changing its approach earlier this year the trump administration threatened to veto a U. N. security council resolution condemning sexual violence in conflict because there was a mention of the need for maternal health follow up in the event of rape the resolution was then stripped of any mention of reproductive rights and Charbonneau says the trump administration is selective on human rights overall at the U. N. for a while they were talking about you man writes in North Korea but it soon as president trump was getting into a dialogue with Kim Jong un the leader of North Korea all of a sudden human rights dropped off the agenda he says the trump administration often blasts Iran's poor human rights record but give Saudi Arabia a pass robber Shinseki with human rights first says he'd like to see the new commission look at how the administration is undermining US credibility on this issue that runs the gamut from president trump saying that a free and independent press is the enemy of the people to complementing murderous dictators to obscuring the U. S. government's role in separating migrant children from their parents and keeping them in squalid conditions that was the topic of a report out today by the U. N.'s top human rights official who says she was appalled by the conditions of migrants detained after crossing the U. S. southern border Michele Kellerman NPR news the state department you're listening to All Things Considered from NPR.

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