ICE asks tech companies to help them track visa holders on social media

ICE asks tech companies to help them track visa holders on social media
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The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement is seeking assistance from technology companies to monitor visa holders in the United States, ProPublica reported Wednesday.

ICE officials explained at a conference last week that they are hoping to develop algorithms that would assess potential threats posed by visa holders, and conduct social media surveillance of those deemed high risk. Microsoft, Deloitte and Motorola Solutions were among the companies in attendance.

“We have millions and millions and millions of people coming every year, and subsequently departing, so we have to be smart about it,” said Louis Rodi, deputy assistant director of one of ICE’s national security programs. 

Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman for ICE, told ProPublica that the Department of Homeland Security has not actually begun building such a program, but was simply gathering information from industry leaders.

ICE officials told tech companies last week that the department hopes to get automated notifications about any visa holders’ social media activity. ICE already monitors some social media posts, but plans to expand its operation. 

President Trump has since taking office repeated calls for “extreme vetting,” ramping up those calls in the wake of terrorist attacks. The Trump administration has also sought to ban immigrants from certain countries.