EPIC v. ICE (Palantir Databases)

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  • EPIC Comments on Canada Transborder Data Flow Policy: EPIC provided comments to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on Canada's policy for transborder data flows. EPIC urged the OPC to require that legal protection for personal data protection extend across borders, citing risks to privacy after the Capital One breach impacted affected six million Canadians. EPIC also encouraged the OPC to recognize multiple grounds for transfer, coupled with strong accountability measures. This approach is reflected in the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the Council of Europe's Modernized Privacy Convention. EPIC recently submitted comments on the third annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, a framework that permits the transfer of Europeans' personal data to the U.S. EPIC detailed the latest developments in the U.S., including the failure to reform bulk surveillance under Section 702 of FISA, the absence of comprehensive federal privacy law and a data protection authority, the full slate appointments to the PCLOB, and U.S. endorsement of the OECD AI Principles. (Aug. 6, 2019)
  • Bill Introduced to Strengthen Privacy Protections At U.S. Borders: U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have reintroduced legislation that would strengthen privacy protections through limiting warrantless border searches. Customs and Border Protection officials are currently authorized to stop and search drivers without a warrant or even reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing within 100 miles of any U.S. border. They can also search private land within 25 miles of the border. In practice, this means government officers have authority to conduct searches without cause in a region that includes nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population. The Border Zone Reasonableness Restoration Act of 2019 would reduce the "border zone" from 100 miles to 25 miles and only allow officers access to private property within 10 miles of the border. A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.). EPIC has long advocated against privacy-invasive border surveillance and has filed numerous lawsuits to force CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be more transparent about their border surveillance practices. (Jul. 25, 2019)
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  • EPIC Sues State Department About Secret Facial Recognition Database + (May. 20, 2019)
    EPIC filed a lawsuit today to compel the State Department to release information about the transfer of facial images, gathered from visa and passport applicants, to other federal agencies. EPIC explained to the federal court in Washington, DC that the Customs and Border agency is now using those images in an unlawful border system. EPIC has called for the suspension of the CBP program. Senators Markey and Lee have also opposed expansion of the CBP program to U.S. citizens. In a related FOIA lawsuit, EPIC obtained documents concerning CBP's facial recognition program. A summary report revealed that the system did not perform operational matching at a "satisfactory" level.
  • EPIC to TSA: Conduct Rulemaking on Facial Recognition + (Apr. 26, 2019)
    In comments to inform the Transportation Security Administration's 2020 National Strategy, EPIC recommended that TSA to suspend the facial recognition program at US airports. EPIC wrote, "The TSA's use of facial recognition lacks the safeguards necessary for implementation." EPIC has also warned lawmakers and the DHS about the biometric border program that incorporates deploy facial recognition. EPIC has urged the agency to undertake a notice and comment rule making that would provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the controversial program. EPIC successfully required TSA to conduct a rulemaking on its deployment of airport body scanners in EPIC v. DHS. EPIC also recommended that TSA incorporate the Universal Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence, endorsed by over 300 organizations and experts, for AI-based systems.
  • EPIC Urges Congress to Examine Surveillance at the Border + (Mar. 5, 2019)
    In advance of a hearing on border security, EPIC sent a statement to the House Committee on Homeland Security urging an examination of surveillance programs in use at the border. EPIC asked the Committee to examine the warrantless searches of mobile devices, social media profiling, and the use of drones. EPIC has filed several FOIA lawsuits against DHS regarding these surveillance activities, warning that border surveillance programs often capture the personal data of Americans. A previous FOIA lawsuit EPIC v. CPB uncovered Palintir's role in the development of the Analytical Framework for Intelligence, a program that assigns "risk assessment" scores to travelers, including U.S. citizens.
  • EPIC To PCLOB: Review 12333, Facial Recognition, AI, Smart Borders, and 702 Authority + (Feb. 7, 2019)
    In advance of a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board forum on "Countering Terrorism while Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties: Where do We Stand in 2019," EPIC sent a statement to the Board outlining priorities. EPIC said the Civil Liberties Board should (1) release the report on Executive Order 12333; (2) limit government use of facial recognition; (3) establish safeguard for government AI use; (4) monitor proposals for "smart" borders and assess privacy impacts on US residents; and (5) reform Section 702 surveillance authority. The independent agency reviews federal agency programs to ensure protections for privacy and civil liberties. EPIC helped establish the PCLOB. In 2003 EPIC testified before the 9-11 Commission and urged the creation of an independent privacy agency to oversee the surveillance powers established after 9/11. EPIC also set out initial priorities for the PCLOB and spoke at the first meeting of the Oversight Board in 2013. In 2016, EPIC awarded former PCLOB Board Member Judge Patricia Wald with the EPIC Champion of Freedom Award.
  • EPIC to Senate: Oversight Board Must Review Government Use of Facial Recognition, AI + (Feb. 5, 2019)
    In advance of a hearing about the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, EPIC sent a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee outlining priorities. EPIC said the Civil Liberties Board should (1) release the report on Executive Order 12333; (2) review the use of facial recognition technology and propose safeguards; (3) review the use of artificial intelligence and propose safeguards; and (4) monitor proposals for "smart" borders and assess privacy impacts on US residents. The independent agency reviews federal agency programs to ensure adequate safeguards for privacy and civil liberties. EPIC helped establish the PCLOB. In 2003 EPIC testified before the 9-11 Commission and urged the creation of an independent privacy agency to oversee the surveillance powers established after 9/11. EPIC also set out initial priorities for the PCLOB and spoke at the first meeting of the Oversight Board in 2013. In 2016, EPIC awarded former PCLOB Board Member Judge Patricia Wald with the EPIC Champion of Freedom Award.
  • EPIC Sues Border Agency about Searches of Cellphones + (Feb. 1, 2019)
    EPIC will file a lawsuit today to compel a federal agency to release audits so as to determine whether the searches of electronic devices are lawful. The Border Search Directive sets out when and how Customs and Border Patrol officials may inspect cellphones, tablets, and laptop computers of travelers crossing the US border. The Directive requires the agency to develop an auditing mechanism to ensure lawful searches, yet the agency has not published the auditing requirements or the results of the audits. So, EPIC has sed for the release of the procedures. The American Bar Association recently adopted a new policy that urges Congress, the courts, and the Department of Homeland Security to enact legislation and adopt policies to protect the privacy rights of travelers. EPIC filed a related lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement for information about the warrantless searches of cell phones.
  • American Bar Association Takes Stand on Privacy Rights and Border Searches + (Jan. 29, 2019)
    Leaders of the American Bar Association completed their midyear meeting yesterday and tackled a range of policy issues, including privacy at the border. The ABA adopted a new policy that "Urges the federal judiciary, Congress, and the Department of Homeland Security to enact legislation and adopt policies to protect the privacy interests of those crossing the border by imposing standards for searches and seizures of electronic devices, protection of attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, and lawyer-client confidentiality." The resolution was introduced by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and the Criminal Justice Section. EPIC Senior Counsel Alan Butler is the Chair of the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice Section's Committee on Privacy and Information Protection. EPIC has previously submitted "friend of the court" briefs advocating for Fourth Amendment protection of cell phone data in Riley v. California and Carpenter v. United States.
  • Border Agency Finalizes Social Media Collection Rule + (Jan. 3, 2019)
    Despite comments from EPIC and others, Customs and Border Protection will collect social media information from Americans and place that data outside legal protections provided by the Privacy Act. EPIC proposed opposed the collection of personal data and said that CBP should narrow the Privacy Act exemptions. The agency responded briefly to public comments, failing to defend the agency's decision. In a related FOIA lawsuit against DHS, EPIC obtained documents which revealed that federal agencies gather social media comments to identify individuals critical of the government.
  • EPIC Investigates Airport Facial Recognition Opt-Out Procedures + (Dec. 12, 2018)
    In an urgent FOIA request, EPICis seeking documents from CBP about the procedures for travelers to opt-out of biometric entry/exit program. EPIC found that CBP frequently changes the program without any formal procedures. One consequence is that it is now more difficult for travelers to opt-out of the screening procedure EPIC wrote that "CBP is modifying rules as it is implementing the program," contrary to federal law. Earlier this week, EPIC urged Congress to suspend the program until privacy safeguards and meaningful opt-out procedures are established. In comments to the DHS Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee, EPIC explained the substantial privacy risks of CBP's use of facial recognition technology.
  • EPIC to Congress: Federal Agency Making Up the Rules for Facial Recognition Screening + (Dec. 11, 2018)
    EPIC has sent a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing of Customs and Border Protection. EPIC cited frequent changes CBP has made to the opt-out procedures for the biometric entry/exit program. "Without legal authority or the opportunity for public comment, CBP is making up the rules as it rolls out the program," EPIC said. EPIC urged the Committee to suspend the screening program until privacy safeguards and meaningful opt-out procedures are established. Last week, EPIC warned Customs and Border Protection about facial recognition technology and urged the DHS Privacy committee to end the program.
  • EPIC Urges Congress to Examine Surveillance at the Border + (Nov. 28, 2018)
    EPIC wrote to a Senate committee about the nominee to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. EPIC urged the Committee to examine the agency's practices, including the use of secretive algorithms and databases, warrantless searches of mobile devices, social media profiling, and the use of DACA application data for investigative purposes. EPIC has filed multiple FOIA lawsuits against ICE regarding theses surveillance programs. A previous FOIA lawsuit EPIC v. CPB uncovered Planter's role in Analytical Framework for Intelligence, a program that assigns "risk assessment" scores to travelers.
  • Court Blocks EPIC's Efforts to Obtain "Predictive Analytics Report" + (Aug. 16, 2018)
    A federal court in the District of Columbia has blocked EPIC's efforts to obtain a secret "Predictive Analytics Report" in a FOIA case against the Department of Justice. The court sided with the agency which had withheld the report and asserted the "Presidential communications privilege." Neither the Supreme Court nor the D.C. Circuit has ever permitted a federal agency to invoke that privilege in a FOIA case. EPIC sued the agency in 2017 to obtain records about "risk assessment" tools in the criminal justice system. These techniques are used to set bail, determine criminal sentences, and even contribute to determinations about guilt or innocence. Many criminal justice experts oppose their use. EPIC has pursued several FOIA cases concerning "algorithmic transparency," passenger risk assessment, "future crime" prediction, and proprietary forensic analysis. The case is EPIC v. DOJ (Aug. 14, 2018 D.D.C.). EPIC is considering an appeal.
  • EPIC Urges Suspension of Biometric Entry/Exit Program + (Jul. 25, 2018)
    In comments to Customs and Border Protection, EPIC urged the agency to suspend the Biometric Entry/Exit Program. EPIC argued that less privacy-invasive alternatives should be considered and that the program should not move forward until Congress has passed regulations implementing safeguards for the use of biometrics. CBP solicited comments about the collection of biometrics, based on facial recognition, from people in vehicles crossing the border. EPIC said that such an expansion could quickly lead to a program of mass surveillance. In EPIC v. CBP, EPIC has sued the agency for details about the program. A report EPIC obtained in the lawsuit showed that facial recognition at a pedestrian border failed to perform at a "satisfactory" level.
  • EPIC FOIA: EPIC Obtains CBP Drone Operations and Privacy Directive + (Jul. 20, 2018)
    Through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC obtained Customs and Border Protection's directive on Unmanned Aircraft System Operations and Privacy. The directive allows the agency to disseminate information collected through drone operations with federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign law enforcement agencies. EPIC's FOIA request stems from 2015 Presidential Memorandum that requires all federal agencies to develop and publish policies and procedures that address the privacy, civil liberties, and civil right issues posed by the use of drones. EPIC recently sent a statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, urging the Committee to not consider a S. 2836, Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018: Countering Malicious Drones, until all federal agencies establish drone privacy procedures.
  • EPIC Joins Coalition Urging Congress to Investigate Destruction of Records on Family Separation + (Jul. 12, 2018)
    EPIC and a coalition of organizations sent a letter to Congress urging an investigation of the Department of Homeland Security's records management practices. The concern follows the administration's "zero-tolerance" immigration enforcement policy and family unification efforts. Recent reports indicate that border agents are improperly destroying records of the separated families, making it difficult to reestablish family connections. "The purposeful deletion of records by border agents would be a clear violation of the [Federal Records Act], with dire humanitarian consequences," the group stated. The letter also encouraged Congress to ensure DHS is fulfilling its transparency obligations by making its policy guidances available to the public. EPIC has previously warned the Senate about the misuse of immigrant data by the DHS.
  • EPIC to Congress: Warrant Should be Required for Searches of Phones at Border + (Jul. 10, 2018)
    In advance of a hearing on "Examining Warrantless Smartphone Searches at the Border," EPIC has sent a statement to the Senate urging a warrant requirement for searches of electronic devices at the border. EPIC recently filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement for details of the agency's warrantless searches of mobile devices. ICE has contracts with Cellebrite to extract data from mobile devices, including personal data stored in cloud-based accounts, without judicial authority. Privacy complaints regarding the search of mobile devices at the border continue to increase. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) have introduced S. 2386, legislation to restrict border searches of cellphones. EPIC Advisory Board member Professor Laura Donohue will testify at the hearing.
  • ICE Abandons "Extreme Vetting" Software to Screen Visa Applicants + (May. 18, 2018)
    Immigration and Customs Enforcement has dropped a plan to use machine learning software to determine if a visa applicant might commit a crime or terrorist act. Last year, EPIC joined over 50 privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights groups to oppose the plan, stating that the "initiative was tailor-made for discrimination." EPIC has pursued several FOIA cases to uncover the use of secret algorithms by government agencies to score people, including EPIC v. CBP about the "Analytical Framework for Intelligence" that generated secret "risk assessments" on US travelers. In testimony for the 9-11 Commission, EPIC warned that "the use of information technology to identify individuals that may pose a specific threat to the United States" is a "complex problem [that] necessarily involves subjective judgments."
  • EPIC to Congress: Enhanced Surveillance at Border Will Impact Rights of U.S. Citizens + (Apr. 24, 2018)
    EPIC has sent a statement to the House Homeland Security Committee in advance of a hearing with the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. EPIC urged the Committee to ask the CBP Commissioner about the collection of biometric data at US airports. EPIC described the growing use of facial recognition that capture the images of US travelers. EPIC also pointed to a recent study that found racial disparities with the technique. EPIC is currently seeking records from the federal agency concerning the accuracy of facial recognition. EPIC also recommended the Committee examine how CBP will comply with state laws prohibiting warrantless aerial surveillance when deploying drones at the border. As a result of an earlier FOIA lawsuit, EPIC found that the CBP is deploying drones with facial recognition technology without warrant authority.
  • Senators Introduce Bill to Limit Device Searches at the Border + (Mar. 5, 2018)
    Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Steve Daines (R-MT) have introduced a bill that would place restrictions on searches and seizures of electronic devices at the border. The bill sets out detailed procedures for seizing electronic devices, including a warrant requirement prior to inspection of the device, data minimization, and exclusion of evidence that is obtained in violation of the Act. The bill also establishes reporting requirements to determine the scope and frequency of device searches. Senator Leahy stated that "no American should have to relinquish all of their privacy rights to their cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices, simply because they are coming home from a trip abroad." The bill would also require a warrant to use software to analyze seized electronic devices. In a statement to Congress last year, EPIC warned that enhanced surveillance at the border will impact citizens' rights.
  • Republican DACA Bill Would Expand Use of Drones, Biometrics + (Feb. 21, 2018)
    The Secure and Succeed Act (S. Amdt. 1959 to H.R. 2579), sponsored by several Republican Senators, would link DACA with hi-tech border surveillance. Customs and Border Protection would use facial recognition and other biometric technologies to inspect travelers, both US citizens and non-citizens, at airports. The bill also establishes "Operation Phalanx" that instructs the Department of Defense—a military agency—to use drones for domestic surveillance. EPIC has pursued many FOIA cases on border surveillance involving biometrics, drones, and airport body scanners, In a statement to Congress, EPIC warned that "many of the techniques that are proposed to enhance border surveillance have direct implications for the privacy of American citizens."
  • EPIC FOIA- EPIC Obtains DHS Secretary Interview Notes on Border Security + (Jan. 8, 2018)
    Through a Freedom of Information Act request, EPIC has obtained former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly's notes for an interview with NPR about border security. The notes include talking points about southwest border security and the construction of the southwest border wall. During the interview, Mr. Kelly also described DHS's plans to increase vetting of immigrants and coordination with the White House, despite the fact these issues were not included in the talking points. EPIC previously warned the House Oversight Committee that enhanced surveillance at the border will impact the rights of U.S. citizens. As a result of an earlier FOIA lawsuit, EPIC found that the Customs and Borders Protection is already deploying drones with facial recognition technology near the border.
  • EPIC FOIA: Report Reveals Failure of Border Biometric Matching Program + (Dec. 18, 2017)
    Through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has obtained a report from Custom and Border Protection, which evaluated iris imaging and facial recognition scans for border control. The "Southwest Border Pedestrian Field Test" reveals that the agency program does not perform operational matching at a "satisfactory" level. In a statement to Congress earlier this year, EPIC warned that biometric identification techniques are unreliable and lack proper privacy safeguards. EPIC is pursuing related documents for the use of biometrics at airports. EPIC has extensively litigated airport screening techniques, including EPIC v. TSA (concerning body scanner modifications) and EPIC v. DHS (concerning full body scanner radiation risks).
  • Nominee for DHS Secretary Favors Less Wall, More Surveillance Tech at Border + (Nov. 9, 2017)
    Today Congress considered the nomination of Kirstjen M. Nielsen as Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Nielsen opposes a border wall but suggested an expansion of border surveillance. "Technology, as you know, plays a key part, and we can't forget it," she said. EPIC is pursuing a FOIA request regarding the use of DHS drones for border surveillance. Earlier EPIC cases - including EPIC v. DHS which led to the removal of x-ray body scanners in US airports - revealed that technologies for border surveillance invariably impact the privacy rights of Americans. Ms. Nielsen views on the use of DACA applicant data for enforcement remains unclear. EPIC recently warned that 800,000 DACA applicants face privacy risks as a result of the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • CBP Plans to Exempt Social Media Data from Legal Protections + (Sep. 22, 2017)
    Customs and Border Protection has published a system of records notice for the "Intelligence Records System." The agency proposes to exempt the database from many Privacy Act safeguards. The database contains detailed personal data from social media and commercial data services. CBP will use the "Analytical Framework for Intelligence" to secretly profile and evaluate social media users. In the FOIA lawsuit EPIC v. CBP, EPIC uncovered Palantir's role in Analytical Framework for Intelligence, a program that assigns "risk assessment" scores to U.S. travelers. EPIC is now pursuing a FOIA request to Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeking details of the agency's relationship with Palantir.
  • NGOs to Meet with Privacy Commissioners at Public Voice Event in Hong Kong + (Sep. 19, 2017)
    The Public Voice will host an event with NGOs and Privacy Commissioners at the 39th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Hong Kong. "Emerging Privacy Issues: A Dialogue Between NGOs & DPAs" will address emerging privacy issues, including biometric identification, Algorithmic transparency, border surveillance, the India privacy decision, and implementation of the GDPR. Speakers include Chairman Isabelle Falque-Pterrotin of the CNIL and Article 29 Working Party, Commissioner John Edwards of New Zealand, and Director Eduardo Bertoni of Argentina. Also participating will be representatives of Access Now, EPIC, GP Digital, Privacy International, and the World Privacy Forum. The Public Voice, established in 1996, facilitates public participation in decisions concerning the future of the Internet.
  • Report Shows Increase in Open Government Lawsuits, EPIC Among Nation's Leading FOIA Litigators + (Jul. 27, 2017)
    A new report from the FOIA Project shows a "dramatic rise" in the number Freedom of Information Act lawsuits filed by nonprofit and advocacy groups. According to TRAC, these organizations now account for more FOIA suits than "any other single class." EPIC was the fifth most frequent litigator among nonprofit and advocacy groups nationwide. In 2017, EPIC has filed five FOIA lawsuits. EPIC is currently litigating EPIC v. ODNI, EPIC v. FBI, and EPIC v. IRS, three of the leading open government cases concerning Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election. Last week, EPIC filed a new FOIA lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection for information about the agency's deployment of a biometric entry/exit tracking system, including at US airports. For more information about EPIC's latest open government work, visit: https://epic.org/open_gov/.
  • EPIC to Congress: Examine Facial Recognition Surveillance at the Border + (Jul. 24, 2017)
    EPIC has sent a statement to the House Homeland Security Committee in advance of a hearing on "Technology's Role on Securing the Border." EPIC alerted the Committee to EPIC's recent FOIA lawsuit about the federal government's deployment of a biometric "entry/exit tracking system," including at US airports. A recent Executive Order on immigration will push forward the biometric identification system, and will include citizens returning to the U.S. EPIC has warned that biometric identification techniques, such as facial recognition, lack proper privacy safeguards. EPIC noted that the federal agency pursuing the border identification program is also deploying drones, and should comply with state laws and a 2015 Presidential Memorandum that limit drone surveillance.
  • EPIC: Enhanced Surveillance at Border Will Sweep Up U.S. Citizens + (Apr. 26, 2017)
    A statement from EPIC to the House Oversight Committee for a hearing on border security warns that enhanced surveillance will impact citizens' rights. "The use of drones in border security will place U.S. citizens living on the border under ceaseless surveillance by the government." said EPIC. EPIC noted that Customs and Border Protection is already deploying drones with facial recognition technology on U.S. communities. In 2013, EPIC obtained records under the Freedom of Information Act which revealed that CBP drones could also intercept electronic communications in the United States. State laws in some border states prohibit warrantless aerial surveillance but the United States has failed to enact laws to limit drone surveillance. EPIC has sued the FAA for the agency's failure to create drone privacy safegruards as required by Congress.
  • EPIC Petitions Government to Suspend Drone Surveillance Program + (Mar. 22, 2013)
    EPIC, joined by thirty organizations and more than a thousand individuals, has petitioned the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to suspend the domestic drone surveillance program, pending the establishment of concrete privacy regulations. The petition states that "the use of drones for border surveillance presents substantial privacy and civil liberties concerns for millions of Americans across the country." The petition follows the revelation that the drones deployed by the federal agency are equipped with technology for signals interception and human identification. For more inform at ion, see EPIC: Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones.
  • EPIC FOIA - New Details About Automated License Plate Readers Obtained + (Feb. 14, 2012)
    In response to an EPIC Freedom of Information Act request, Customs and Border Protection has disclosed nearly 1,000 pages of documents on automated license plate readers and border body scanners. The documents include contracts with several companies, such as Rapiscan and L3, for vehicle and cargo screening x-ray devices. Previous documents obtained by EPIC revealed that the agency is developing integrated vehicle scanners, with backscatter x-ray, Closed Circuit Television, and automated license plate readers, that would be used with human subjects. Radiation experts have questioned the safety of these systems, which produce ionizing radiation. For more information see EPIC FOIA: Automated License Plate Readers and Border Checkpoint Body Scanners.

Background

ICE has contracted with Palantir Technologies, Inc. to build and/or maintain information systems that contain vast amounts of information on individuals, such as the FALCON systems and the Investigative Case Management (ICM) system. In its 2018 Budget in Brief, DHS listed $20.3 million in funding for ICM for FY 2018. In 2014, ICE contracted with Palantir to build and maintain the ICM system for over $41 million.

FALCON Systems

FALCON is a proprietary software product which allows users to search, analyze and visualize complex data sets and serves as ICE’s primary data storage and analysis system. There are several modules in the FALCON system, including FALCON Data Analysis and Research for Trade Transparency System (DARTTS), FALCON Search and Analysis System (SA), and FALCON- Roadrunner System. FALCON-DARTTS looks at anomalies in data related to trade-based crimes, including money laundering, smuggling, and other import-export crimes. FALCON-SA is used “to search, analyze, and visualize volumes of existing information.” And FALCON-Roadrunner is a module within the existing FALCON environment that conducts trend analysis and generates investigative leads related to illegal trafficking of weapons and technology.

Investigative Case Management (ICM) System

The Investigative Case Management (ICM) system is the modernization of ICE’s legacy TECS system. A primary motivation for the modernization project was to enable ICE to more easily link investigative records within and between departments. The ICM system includes the ICM application, which provides case management capabilities, as well as three additional capabilities: “1) an Interface Hub to control the movement of information between ICM and external information repositories; 2) the HSI Data Warehouse to store case information for the purpose of facilitating information sharing and reporting; and 3) the TLS application (and its interface with Pen-Link), which will store case-related telecommunications information obtained via subpoena or other means.”

EPIC’s Interest

EPIC is concerned about the federal government’s use of information systems that include vast amounts of information on individuals. ICE uses products developed and maintained by Palantir to import, aggregate, search, analyze and visualize data from a variety of sources to carry out homeland security investigations; yet, the public knows little about the effectiveness of the systems, extent of training required for use of the systems, constraints on dissemination of data, and mechanisms in place for oversight and accountability. Further, the public has a right to know the amount of information collected in these systems, the capabilities the agency has to analyze these systems, and the extent of access to this information is allowed to other federal agencies, as well as local and state agencies. EPIC has a significant interest in obtaining ICE documents that describe the training material, policies and procedures, agreements, and other documents to have a better understanding of government operations at the border and in the interior.

Legal Documents

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 17-2684)

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