publicidad
Almost 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States

New spy tools can put immigrants at risk

New spy tools can put immigrants at risk

Police agencies are buying equipment and programs that intercept cell phones. For undocumented migrants, that could pose a risk.

Almost 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States
Almost 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States

Undocumented immigrants face a largely unforseen and hidden risk of abuse due to the growing number of police departments that are buying equipment and programs to intercept cell phones, according to media activist Steven Renderos.

"Immigrants tend to be the canaries in the coalmine when it comes to the collection and tracking of data," said Renderos, director of the Center for Media Justice. The way they are treated by local and federal authorities points to the dangers that all U.S. residents may face in coming years, he added.

And that's especially worrisome because of the spy technology increasingly used in the United States, according to a detailed report by CityLab on the increasing number of municipal police departments capable of intercepting cell phone communications. Los Angeles officials spent $123,000 purchasing the technology. In Chicago, it was nearly $500,000.

What's clear from the report is that local police departments are spending thousands of dollars for two types of tools: equipment to obtain data from cell phones, such as lists of calls and text messages, usually without accessing their content; and programs to unlock phones seized by police.

The equipment and programs have generated important questions about privacy rights and their legality when used without court orders. But it also increases the risks for undocumented migrants already exposed to swift deportations, Renderos said.

celular limpieza
Undocumented migrants can take steps to protect their cell phones using encrypted apps

Those risks have become more relevant in recent months because an executive order by President Donald Trump that shifted the priorities for deportation to focus on undocumented migrants accused of a crime or suspected of “a chargeable offense.”

George Joseph, author of the CityLab report, wrote that Trump would need the assistance of local police to carry out his deportations proposals. Police could use the digital spy systems to locate undocumented migrants through their cell phones – and perhaps even develop information on groups of migrants who communicate among themselves.

Renderos, an expert on police technologies and founder of the initiative “The Color of Freedom, said police already use equipment and programs that could be used to target immigrants.

“One technology that could impact immigrants significantly is drones,” he said. “Many police departments are considering buying them, and several others already have used them for surveillance. Drones have been used along the border for many years, against immigrants.”

publicidad

Renderos also mentioned the use of biometric data, which include fingerprints, iris scans and even DNA – to establish family relationships, for example. Immigrants likely account for the majority of that type of information held in U.S. databases because it is required for visa applications.

That information cannot be hidden from U.S. officials because it is already in U.S. databases, he said, but undocumented migrants can still take steps to protect their cell phones.

They should use encrypted apps for sending text messages instead of the simple texting apps that come with cell phones, he said. One popular encrypted app is Signal, which is free. They should not post information on social networks that could lead police to them or their friends. And they should never use their fingerprint to unblock their cell phones. Use a four or six-digit code instead.

“It's also important to know your rights on cell phones … You don't have to unblock your phone for the police. Don't make their work any easier,” said Renderos, adding that more information on protecting data is available on the Web pages of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Immigrants say they already have been feeling the increased surveillance, even before Trump was sworn in as president. Noemi Romero, 25, an undocumented immigrants who lives in Phoenix, told CityLab that she spotted a drone during recent protests against the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia. “It was flying, and we could see the camera,” she said.

Romero said the drone was just a new chapter in an experience common to all migrants.

publicidad

“We have lived under surveillance our whole lives,” she said. “They put monitors on our ankles. ICE sets traps for us and our families. That is already a part of our lives,”

But she is neither afraid nor surprised over the possibility of increased surveillance. “We knew that something like this could happen,” she said. “And we will continue to fight.”

This story was originally published by our partners at CityLab Latino

publicidad
publicidad
A scene form the new documentary A Long Way From Home about the desegregation of professional baseball.
Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz reacted to comments on Twitter by President Trump in which he said Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them."
It is estimated that there are almost as many Puerto Ricans living off the island as the 3.4 million that reside there. After Hurricane Maria, almost all communication was lost between those on the island and in the diaspora. Univision sent a reporting team to the island before Maria's arrival. Part of their job now is helping connect families.
Two reporters from Univision News followed the track of Hurricane Maria, starting from the southeast where the eye made landfall all the way to the capital. This is what they saw from the road ...
An "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane, Maria made landfall near Yabucoa in southeast Puerto Rico, causing widespread flooding across the U.S. territory of 3.4 million inhabitants. Maria caused rivers to flood all over the island. This video was taken in Guayama, on the south coast.
After a strong earthquake shook Mexico City, thousands of people evacuated their homes. The epicenter was 7.5 miles southeast of Axochiapan, in the state of Morelos.
Had Irma tracked 50 miles further north along Cuba's coast, the results could have been dramatically different, meteorologists say, causing devastation to the densely populated Greater Miami region. Also by tracking up Florida's west coast close to the shoreline deprived Irma of the warm Gulf water that fuels storms. Here is a compilation of the hurricane satellite images shared by NASA on social media.
Presidents don't usually pardon criminals until they have been sentenced or have at least expressed some regret, but this was not the case with Arpaio, who spoke to Univision News two weeks after being forgiven by his ally, Donald Trump.
During a meeting in the Oval office Friday, the president was asked by reporters about the future of DACA, to which he responded that a decision was coming soon. "We love the dreamers, we love everyone," he added.
The program was established in 2012 by President Barack Obama to protect certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Nilsa Huete is an undocumented Honduran immigrant living in Key West, Florida. In the last five months, five of her family members have been arrested by agents from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Now she’s fighting against the deportation of her daughter and brother.
The former Arizona sheriff pardoned by President Trump is one of the most unpopular figures in the Hispanic community. For 24 years he was sheriff of the fourth largest county in the country and was convicted in July 2017 of ignoring a court order to stop his officers from racial profiling of Hispanics.
Christopher Barker, leader of the 'Loyal White Knights' of the Ku Klux Klan and his wife Amanda Barker discussed their views on President Donald Trump during an exclusive interview for Aquí y Ahora.
That's what Christopher Barker, leader of the KKK's 'Loyal White Knights,' told Univision's late night news anchor in an interview for Aquí y Ahora. "To me you're a ni**er," he added.
Those were the words of Christopher Barker, a leader of the Ku Klux Klan's 'Loyal White Knights' during an interview with Univision's late night news anchor, Ilia Calderon, for the show Aquí y Ahora.
During an interview with Chris Barker, a leader of Ku Klux Klan's 'Loyal White Knights,' the Univision News anchor sought answers to questions about the group's beliefs on race.
Califican de insensible a Trump por enviar comentarios hirientes a los familiares de soldados fallecidos
La representante demócrata por la Florida Frederica Wilson asegura que el mandatario llamó a una de las mujeres viudas y le dijo que su esposo sabía en lo que se metía cuando entró a la milicia, por lo que su mensaje es catalogado como insensible.
What will Trump do about North Korea and its missiles? Jorge Ramos looks back on the president's remarks
North Korea continues to improve the range, accuracy and destructive force of its missiles. While presidents before him have failed to stop the country's nuclear weapons program, they have succeeded in preventing a new war. The question now is: what will Trump do?
"Dios me hizo bigotona", Karla Martínez asume sus vellos y revela por qué lo hace
Hablando de estándares de belleza y depilación femenina, Karla explicó cómo tuvo que lidiar con el vello corporal (y las críticas) justo entrando en la adolescencia.
Estándares de belleza actuales: depilación perfecta vs tendencia natural, ¿cuál es la mejor opción?
Después de que varias celebridades compartieran fotos mostrando su vello axilar y con las piernas sin depilar, nuestro panel experto debatió si es realmente necesario que una mujer se rasure para sentirse bella. Y los hombres también opinaron.
publicidad
Emergencia en Mount Wilson por un voraz incendio de maleza
Hasta el momento la conflagración lleva un cuarto de acre consumido. El cuerpo de bomberos intenta atender la emergencia con aviones y helicópteros cisterna.
"Alcanzamos a salir corriendo con lo que traíamos puesto": hispanos que lo perdieron todo en los incendios de California
Los fuegos en el norte de California han dejado a la deriva a unos 15,000 inmigrantes que se dedicaban a cultivar uvas en los condados de Napa y Sonoma, mientras distintas empresas que se quemaron han dejado a otros tantos desempleados. Antes de esta catástrofe, la situación de los hispanos en esa región ya era difícil.
Bomberos combaten un incendio que amenaza el observatorio y varias torres de transmisión en Mount Wilson
Un equipo de más de 300 bomberos lucha contra las llamas que se propagan desde el martes en la mañana en los terrenos alrededor de Mount Wilson, poniendo en peligro el observatorio y las torres de transmisión ubicadas en esa zona.
Tres informes internacionales denuncian la corrupción en México pero Peña Nieto los menosprecia
El presidente criticó que los mexicanos quieran ver corrupción detrás de cualquier cosa que ocurra. Sin embargo, además de los ciudadanos, distintas organizaciones internacionales y nacionales han catalogado al país como uno de los más corruptos a nivel regional y mundial.
Así fue el regreso de Kyrie Irving a Cleveland
El base volvió a la cancha que lo vio nacer y crecer como profesional, sólo que ahora con los Boston Celtics y así fue su noche.
MLS
Ashley Cole no esconde su deseo de renovar con el LA Galaxy: "Quiero seguir acá"
Sin embargo, el zaguero inglés sabe que podría no entrar en los planes de un club que buscaría hacer grandes cambios tras un 2017 para el olvido.
David Patiño tras el triunfo de Pumas ante León: “Hemos logrado hacer trabajo en conjunto”
El técnico auriazul destacó el trabajo de sus futbolistas luego de vencer 2-0 al conjunto esmeralda. El DT aseguró que está cumpliendo un sueño al dirigir el club universitario y reafirmó su compromiso.
Chivas juega su partido más difícil ante el América sin Rodolfo Pizarro, su talismán
Al Guadalajara le cuesta mucho sacar triunfos sin el mediocampista ofensivo: apenas ganó una vez en ocho juegos. Aquí el detalle de cómo sufre el Rebaño sin él.