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.”


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.


“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

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.
The former Republican presidential candidate says a Senate immigration proposal that would cut immigration in half is flawed, but he backs idea of merit-based points system.
The footage shows a man wearing a badge, apparently from the local sheriff’s department, and claiming to be bail bonds agent. A lawyer then rebukes and questions his authority.
Maty Muy, a Guatemalan immigrant, went to renew her work permit at an ICE office and ended up facing a nightmare. Authorities placed a GPS monitor on her ankle and sent her husband to a detention facility. Now, she has taken over the family business – a tire and auto repair shop – while facing deportation.
Univision got exclusive access to the Border Patrol's only facility in the country where agents train to search for tunnels used to transport drugs and other illicit materials, in Nogales, Arizona.
This is what Greek artist Eleni means when she speaks about the power of the voice. She improvises a sing-along with a group of immigrants, refugees and allies in Boston's Urbano Project and the result was just beautiful.
Eleni Arapoglou uses new sounds and rhythms to preserve her roots. Eleni is part of the U-Lab 'Immigrant Sounds' sessions that celebrate World Refugee Day and Immigrant Heritage Month.
There has always been movement of people, and as we commemorate World Refugee Day on June 20th a group of musicians, activists and community members got together at The Urbano Project​ in Boston to share their experiences and reflect on the diversity that makes up American society: "The direction of where the world is going is encouraging us all, almost forcing us all, to break down those walls."
La cantante Eleni interpreta 'Milo mou kai mantarini', grabada en exclusiva para U-LAB Music como parte de las sesiones 'Immigrant Sounds' en honor al Mes de la Herencia del Inmigrante y al Día Mundial del Refugiado. Featuring Vasilis Kostas en el laúd.
Artist Nora Valdez and youth in the Boston community are sharing their stories one suitcase at a time at The Urbano Project. At U-LAB Music we documented their process as part of our 'Immigrant Sounds' series.
Nestor Duarte was driving his car in Key West, Florida, when Monroe sheriff deputy David Lariz pulled him over and asked for his papers. Lariz is the same officer who recently asked a Honduran man who had been hit by a car if he was "illegal."
Mimi Martinez, 30, arrived to the United States when she was five years old. Her mom stayed behind in Mexico. Now a legal resident, she was recently able to travel to see her mother in Mexico after 25 years.
Although the deportation numbers for Donald Trump's administration have kept pace with the Obama administration, images of operatives and arrests, hate attacks on different minorities, and the President's own pronouncements have triggered alarms in the immigrant community ... and fear. One of Trump's most vocal campaign promises has begun to come true. And we are not talking about the physical wall, but a deeper, taller and more effective one: the wall of fear.
The young man who was allegedly tortured in Venezuela spoke with Univision News as he left immigration detention, after a day after his arrest. "Thank God I'm out."
Terror en hospital de Guatemala: intento de rescate de miembro de la MS deja siete muertos
Pandilleros de la Mara Salvatrucha llegaron armados al Hospital Roosevelt en Ciudad de Guatemala pretendiendo liberar Ánderson Cabrera, un detenido que asistía a una cita médica. El ataque dejó 12 heridos, entre ellos un menor de edad. Las autoridades informaron que cinco personas vinculadas con los hechos fueron arrestadas.
Tras la deportación, papá del niño maltratado en México se reencuentra con su segundo hijo
Dos días después de haber visto a Anthony, el menor estadounidense de 5 años de edad que hallaron abusado físicamente y desnutrido en la casa donde estaba bajo el cuidado de sus tíos, Pascual Castro visitó a Brandon en el municipio Tecoanapa del estado de Guerrero. La familia del progenitor espera reunirse con el infante rescatado, que aún está bajo la protección de las autoridades.
ACLU presenta demanda por jóvenes que habrían sido arrestados ilegalmente en Nueva York
La Unión Americana por las Libertades Civiles (ACLU, por sus siglas en inglés) presentó la demanda en California, a donde fueron trasladados los tres detenidos. La organización acusa al gobierno federal de usar evidencias vacías tras el operativo Matador, que fue llevado a cabo después de la amenaza de Donald Trump a la Mara Salvatrucha.
"Estados Unidos debería aprender de Alemania": La Verdad Incómoda de León Krauze
Después de lo ocurrido en Charlottesville, Virginia, ¿cómo lidiar con el odio racial que propagan grupos supremacistas blancos? La clave está en encontrar un equilibrio entre la libertad de expresión y la prevención de discursos que incitan al odio contra ciertos grupos en base a sus creencias religiosas, su origen étnico, nacional o racial. Tal fue el caso de Alemania.
Un abogado de Trump reenvía un correo electrónico en el que se favorece la retórica de la Confederación
John Dowd reenvió a varias personas un mensaje original de Jerome Almon, editor de páginas web que difunden supuestas conspiraciones contra el Gobierno, en el que equipara al general confederado Robert Lee con el exmandatario George Washington, un recurso que también utilizó el presidente Trump.
La condición de Washington para que Miami-Dade reciba unos 500,000 dólares de ayuda federal
El fiscal general, Jeff Sessions, visitó Miami después de que el Departamento de Justicia confirmara que el condado no era santuario y atacó a Chicago tras la demanda que interpuso la ciudad por los recortes a lugares que protegen la información de inmigrantes indocumentados.
Emprendedores terminan satisfactoriamente un entrenamiento intensivo sobre biociencia
La supervisora del condado de Los Ángeles, Hilda Solis, se reunió con 18 emprendedores quienes satisfactoriamente terminaron el L.A. Biostart, un entrenamiento intensivo sobre biociencia de cinco semanas, donde recibieron asesoría en cuanto a conocimientos básicos de negocios para que puedan así emprender sus propias iniciativas.
Concacaf League
Árabe Unido venció al Águila y tiene un pie en las semifinales de la Liga Concacaf
El conjunto panameño derrotó 2-0 a los salvadoreños en la ida de los cuartos de final.
Panamá dio a conocer su lista de convocados para los duelos ante México y T&T
Los Canaleros enfrentarán al Tri el 1 de septiembre y a los trinitarios el 5 del mismo mes como parte del Hexagonal Final.
Golazos con mucha garra: Magníficos 10 goles entre Tigres y Pumas
Jürgen Damm, Silvio Torales, Lucas Zelarayan y Andre-PierreGignac, son algunos de los protagonistas de nuestro conteo regresivo, con las mejores anotaciones en los encuentros entre estos dos clubes.
León derrotó a Veracruz y se mantiene líder del grupo seis en Copa MX
Los Esmeraldas vencieron 2-0 al equipo tiburón en el Nou Camp con goles de Álvaro Ramos y Maximiliano Cerato. Tras este triunfo las fieras siguen en lo más alto con nueve puntos. Aquí lo más destacado.