Deportation practices in the U.S. have been transformed by big data and surveillance. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) increasingly relies on big data and technology to conduct raids and deportations. As states, cities, and technology companies collect more and more data about all of us, DHS has been finding ways to access and stockpile our personal data and acquire new technologies to locate individuals and carry out its arrests and deportations. Data from state motor vehicle license and registration departments (DMVs) is one of the main sources of information that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses for conducting immigration enforcement.
In an ideal world, the federal government would place regulations on how private and public entities across the nation are allowed to collect, store, and share data. However, the current reality is that personal data is being collected by local and state agencies as well as private companies, and federal agencies are gaining access to the data through formal and informal channels. Therefore, state governments have a vital role to play in stepping in to ensure that data is not collected unless necessary, not stored for longer than it needs to be, and not shared with any agency without a court warrant. Thanks to SB-131, our data is big closer to being more protected, but we know there is still work to do.