Cybersecurity

Civil liberties groups ask data brokers to promise exclusion from immigrant registries

A coalition of civil and digital liberties groups asked data brokers Monday to pledge that their wares will not be used in any potential tracking efforts by the government. 

Groups ranging from the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and Amnesty International to The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology co-signed a letter to 50 brokers, asking that the companies that collect and co-mingle information to promise not to collaborate with any possible Muslim or immigrant registry proposed by President Trump. 

“While we cannot predict the future actions of the Trump administration, given Trump’s statements about building a registry in the past, we must conclude that the risks to human rights are enormous,” reads the letter. 

{mosads}Data brokers turn information from online accounts, purchases and other publicly available information into lists they sell to advertisers. For example, advertisers looking to contact “Muslim Households by State” need look no further than the database ExactData sells by that name referenced in the report. 

Similar lists exist for interests and personality traits. 

The letter asks brokers to disclose any prior sales for a potential registry and to pledge, “We will not allow our data, or services, to be purchased or otherwise used in ways that could lead to violations of the human rights of Muslims or immigrants in the United States. If we cannot guarantee that our data, or services, will not ultimately be used for such purposes, we will refuse to provide them.”

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