The Story That Never Dies Is Back .. Not That Lexis Actrually Care , “Immigration Advocates Urge DHS to Drop ICE’s LexisNexis Contract”

We’ve had law librarians, students and some lawyers vaguely chide them over the issue but it has not persuaded them one jot that their ICE contract is in fact, immoral, because, as we all know when it come to profit morality really doesn’t get much of a look in.

According to this article,  renewal date for the contract is Monday 28 Feb for ICE deal

Vice report

ICE has queried LexisNexis’ data more than a million times, and leadership encouraged officials to use the tool for finding non-citizens.

An 80-strong group of civil society, racial justice, and immigration advocacy organizations have urged the Department of Homeland Security to cancel Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) $22 million contract with data broker giant LexisNexis, which is set to renew later this month. In internal ICE emails, ICE officials have said one of LexisNexis’ products should be used for the removal of non-citizens.

The news highlights the continued use of data brokers by U.S. law enforcement agencies, who typically don’t need a warrant to query such datasets because they have been purchased from a third-party which has compiled the data instead, streamlining the investigative process. Similar issues arise with the sale and use of smartphone location data. With LexisNexis, that data can include billions of records, such as driver’s license information, phone and email search, and addresses that it obtains from public and private sources. The data also includes information that may be in the hands of state authorities which do not share it with ICE because of sanctuary laws, such as jail records, meaning that ICE turns to LexisNexis instead.

“LexisNexis sells ICE access to an unprecedented amount of sensitive and granular personal data and massively expands the agency’s surveillance of Black, brown and immigrant communities, including citizens and non-citizens alike,” the letter, signed by Just Futures Law, Mijente, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, and many more, reads. “We urge DHS to cancel ICE’s contract with LexisNexis and stop ICE from using data brokers to circumvent local laws, erode civil rights and civil liberties, and conduct mass surveillance to fuel raids and deportations.” The letter is addressed to Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Do you know about any other sales of data to government agencies? We’d love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Joseph Cox securely on Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, or email [email protected].

Just Futures Law previously obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that showed ICE queried LexisNexis’ database more than 1.2 million times across a seven month period, The Intercept previously reported.

ICE has turned to LexisNexis’ data as a work around to laws in sanctuary cities that ordinarily protect such data from law enforcement. In a publicly accessible procurement document, ICE writes that “due to policy or legislative changes, ERO has experienced an increase in the number of law enforcement agencies and state or local governments that do not share information about real time incarceration of foreign-born nationals with ICE.” For that reason, ICE believes it is “critical” to have access to LexisNexis data.

One of LexisNexis’ powerful tools is the Virtual Crime Center, a system that links public records with customers’ own internal datasets and information from other agencies. Beyond ICE, the Secret Service is also a Virtual Crime Center customer, Motherboard reported this month.

Paul Eckloff, senior director, public relations, government for LexisNexis Special Services, told Motherboard in an emailed statement that “LexisNexis Risk Solutions was awarded a contract on March 1, 2021 to provide an investigative tool to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The contract complies with the policies set forth in President Biden’s Executive Order 13993 of January 21, 2021 which revised Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities and the corresponding DHS interim guidelines. These policies, emphasize a respect for human rights, and focus on threats to national security, public safety, and security at the border.”

“LexisNexis Risk Solutions supports the responsible use of data in accordance with governing statutes, regulations and industry best practices. As with our other customers, the Department of Homeland Security must use our services in compliance with these principles,” the statement added.

An ICE spokesperson told Motherboard in an emailed statement “Like other federal agencies, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) maintains various contracts for a wide range of services. This contract provides an investigative tool that allows the agency to manage information that assists with law enforcement investigations, to include national security and public safety cases, narcotics smuggling, transnational gang activity, child exploitation, human smuggling and trafficking, illegal exports of controlled technology and weapons, money laundering, financial fraud, cybercrime, and intellectual property theft. The contract complies with all laws, policies, and regulations that govern data collection, while appropriately respecting civil liberties and privacy interests.”

The current end date of ICE’s LexisNexis contract is February 28, according to online procurement records. The contract could extend until February 2026, the records show.