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.

“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
Immigrants advocacy groups report 300 shootings aboard the train known as the The Beast. Migrant victims point to security guards hired by the government.
Pedro is one of thousands of undocumented immigrants who work in chicken processing plants in Gainesville, Georgia. In a county where police work in tandem with immigration authorities and more than 72% of citizens voted for Donald Trump, many immigrants live in fear.
They grew up in Chicago and their husbands, the Flores twins (aka ‘Los Mellizos’), worked for the Sinaloa cartel. The twins later became DEA informants in Mexico who helped bring down El Chapo Guzman. They have written a book, Cartel Wives, telling their story as a lesson to others not to fall for the narco life, and they regret what they put their families through. "Our fathers put on their suit of armor and their badge, and they are going out there on the streets of Chicago,” Mia confesses. “It’s the very same streets that our husbands were flooding with drugs.”
The Rio Abajo bridge was swept away leaving the town of Utuado cut off. Neighbors engineered a pulley system to haul supplies over the river but they wonder when their lives will return to any semblance of normality.
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.
México aprueba la Ley de Seguridad Interior pese a críticas dentro y fuera del país
La polémica ley, aprobada este viernes por el Congreso de México tras 15 horas de debates, busca regular el rol de las fuerzas armadas en las calles, para combatir grupos delictivos, y amplía sus facultades para actuar cuando se determine que existe una amenaza a la seguridad interior.
Exlíder del sindicato de maestros de México obtiene beneficio de prisión domiciliaria
Elba Esther Gordillo obtuvo este viernes el beneficio del arresto domiciliario por razones de salud tras permanecer más de cuatro años en la cárcel. La mujer fue detenida en febrero de 2013, a dos meses del inicio del gobierno de Enrique Peña Nieto, y fue acusada de fraude fiscal, delincuencia organizada y lavado de dinero por más de 100 millones de dólares.
La violencia no da tregua en la convulsionada Honduras que sigue sin presidente electo
Con la marcha de las antorchas, promovida por el movimiento "Hondureños indignados contra el fraude electoral", concluyó un viernes violento en las principales ciudades y carreteras del país. Las protestas de apoyo al opositor Salvador Nasralla, que comenzaron tras las elecciones generales del 26 de noviembre, dejan ya al menos 16 muertos.
publicidad
Inmigrantes hondureños con TPS tienen plazo hasta el 13 de febrero para reinscribirse
Los beneficiarios del programa deberán enviar el formulario I-821 y gestionar una nueva autorización de empleo, señala el reglamento publicado en el Registro Federal.
Expertos opinan sobre la ley que quiere darle facultades policiales al Ejército mexicano: "No fue hecha para brindar seguridad a la ciudadanía"
Conversamos con juristas y analistas que intentan explicar por qué el gobierno de México avala esta propuesta y advierten sobre el peligro que representa su aprobación.
Cinco miembros de una familia hispana resultaron heridos tras tiroteo en Los Ángeles
Las autoridades indican que un pistolero les disparó desde un vehículo en movimiento cuando estaban afuera de su casa en el vecindario de Pacoima. Entre las víctimas se encuentra una niña de 10 años. No se descarta que el suceso esté relacionado con pandillas.
Una madre que deja a 5 hijos y un veterano con 70 años en EEUU: siguen llegando deportados a Tijuana
Luz María fue deportada después de 25 años en Estados Unidos. Ahora está en Tijuana, la bulliciosa ciudad fronteriza que se ha convertido en la tierra de los deportados.
Bundesliga
Bayern gana con gol de Müller en duelo dramático y aumenta la ventaja
El campeón de la Bundesliga sufrió para sacar el triunfo ante un Stuttgart, que vendió cara la derrota y coqueteó con el empate al final.
Bundesliga
Schalke 04 y Naldo le robaron la sonrisa al Frankfurt
El cuadro azul logró un empate ‘in extremis’ ante el Eintracht del mexicano Carlos Salcedo, quien jugó los 90 minutos.
Naldo les roba el triunfo y las sonrisas al Eintracht
El defensor brasileño se agregó al ataque y con un remate de último segundo logró el empate para el Schalke 04 para evitar la derrota ante el Frankfurt.
Becky G, hermosa invitada musical en los Premios Univision Deportes
Este domingo se entregarán los galardones a lo mejor del deporte en el 2017 y la talentosa cantante estadounidense engalanará la noche con su actuación.