Hillicon Valley — Immigrants being put in surveillance programs

Today is Friday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Follow The Hill’s cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage.

A record number of immigrants are being monitored under a surveillance program launched as an alternative to traditional detention facilities. The growth under the Biden administration is alarming critics who say the program causes harm to immigrants. 


Meanwhile, YouTube suspended Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSunday shows - Russia standoff over Ukraine dominates Ron Johnson: 'Americans are not looking for election reform' Democrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative MORE’s (R-Wis.) account for one week for violating the platform’s policy against COVID-19 misinformation, and human rights organizations say Facebook is interfering with an independent report to investigate hate speech on the platform in India. 

In unrelated news, not a great day to be Jake Gyllenhaal online. 

Let’s jump into the news.

Migrant monitoring reaches record levels

The number of migrants being monitored under a surveillance program launched as an alternative to traditional detention facilities has grown astronomically during the Biden administration. 

A record 136,026 immigrants are now being monitored under Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP), up from 86,000 at the beginning of the year.

That growth has alarmed critics who say the program causes mental and physical harm to immigrants while doing little to divert them away from ICE's brick-and-mortar facilities.


"Too many people in this administration, and in past administrations, have seen these types of electronic surveillance programs as relatively harmless, effective alternatives to immigration detention,” said Peter Markowitz, director of the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Cardozo Law School. “I think what we see is that they're neither harmless nor really alternatives to detention.”

ISAP, now in its fourth iteration, was launched in 2004 as a way to monitor immigrants in removal proceedings through a mix of home and field office visits, court tracking and electronic surveillance.

The program has become a favorite of the Biden administration, which has tried to position its immigration strategy as a humane alternative to former President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE's.

Read more here

YouTube suspends Sen. Johnson (again)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) leaves the Senate Chamber after the first vote of the week on Monday, July 19, 2021.

Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) YouTube account was suspended for one week Friday for uploading content violating the platform’s policy against COVID-19 misinformation.

The video that triggered the suspension was a roundtable discussion in which the lawmaker falsely claimed that coronavirus vaccines are unsafe.

“The updated figures today are 17,619,” he said. “That is 225 times the number of deaths in just a 10-month period versus an annual figure for the flu vaccine. These vaccine injuries are real.”

Johnson was citing numbers from the self-reporting database the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that reports in the system, which can easily be gamed by activists hoping to prove a point, “do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.”

The Hill has reached out to the senator’s office for comment on the suspension.

Read more here



Human rights groups say that Facebook is narrowing the scope of and delaying the process for an independent report commissioned to investigate hate speech on the tech giant’s platform in India. 


Representatives for the groups told The Wall Street Journal they provided hundreds of examples of inflammatory content and suggested ways the platform could better moderate content in India to the firm Facebook commissioned in mid-2020 for the report, but said the tech giant is stifling the independent report. 

Facebook pushed back on the accusations that it is interfering with the report. A spokesperson for Meta, Facebook’s new parent company name, said the goal is to be thorough not “meet an arbitrary deadline.” 

“We look forward to our independent assessor, Foley Hoag, completing their India assessment,” spokesman Andy Stone told the Journal. 

Stone said Foley Hoag, the firm commissioned by Facebook for the report, is running the process and that Facebook is not aware of or in touch with which groups were contacted. Stone also told the Journal the platform has removed material that violates its rules that groups flagged to Foley Hoag. 

Read more here


Miami Mayor Francis SuarezFrancis SuarezSunday shows preview: Congress marks Jan. 6 anniversary; US, Russia to hold talks amid rising tensions The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Manchin says no; White House fires back Hillicon Valley — Immigrants being put in surveillance programs MORE (R) said he intends to give proceeds from the city's cryptocurrency, MiamiCoin, directly to residents.


Those proceeds, totaling roughly $21 million dollars, are a result of Miami staking its cryptocurrency in order to earn Bitcoin, according to the cryptocurrency news site Coindesk.com, which conducted an interview with Suarez on Thursday.

“We’re going to be the first city in America to give a Bitcoin yield as a dividend directly to its residents,” Suarez told the hosts of the site. “We’re going to create digital wallets for our residents, and we’re going to give them Bitcoin directly from the yield of MiamiCoin.”

Read more here


An op-ed to chew on: Let’s not go overboard regulating Big Tech acquisitions  

Lighter click: Filibuster (Taylor’s Version)

Notable links from around the web:


The Sneaky Way TikTok Is Connecting You to Real-Life Friends (Wired / Louise Matsakis)

Amazon’s Spinmasters: Behind the Internet Giant’s Battle With the Press (The Information / Paris Martineau)

Covid vaccine holdouts are caving to mandates — then scrambling to 'undo' their shots (NBC News / Ben Collins)

One last thing: The kids are (still) not all right

A group of Senate Democrats on Friday urged the federal government to do more to protect K-12 institutions and students against crippling cyberattacks, which have increasingly wreaked havoc across the nation during the past year. 

Sens. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Kelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race MORE (D-N.H.), Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Biden: A good coach knows when to change up the team The Memo: Biden looks for way to win back deflated Black voters MORE (D-Ariz.), Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenOvernight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs MORE (D-Nev.), and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Former Maryland rep announces bid for old House seat MORE (D-Md.) sent a letter earlier this week to Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks School infrastructure is a children's human rights issue — it's time the US acknowledges that The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 Capitol attack back in spotlight MORE and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasWe must do more to protect American Jews Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  MORE detailing their concerns about student safety and privacy amid the spike in attacks.

“K-12 schools need additional support, as evidenced by the increasing number of successful cyberattacks on K-12 schools,” the senators wrote. 

They pointed in particular to the need to implement recommendations outlined in a report released last month by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which recommended that the Department of Education update its plan for protecting schools from cyber threats given the changing environment. 

The letter was sent as attacks against K-12 schools continue to pile up and disrupt learning. Attacks were particularly prevalent during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many classes moved online.

Read more here. 


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.