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Border surveillance is not the answer

November 20, 2019 In Digital Freedom

Mass surveillance, including at the border, threatens everyone’s civil liberties. But in recent days, some Democrats in Congress have begun floating a border “security” proposal that suggests expanding surveillance at the border. That could lead to new funding for technologies that invade the privacy of immigrants, travelers, and American citizens living near the border.

Congress should not counter President Trump’s calls for a physical wall with a tech wall. Unchecked use of surveillance tech undermines everyone’s right to privacy, especially the most vulnerable members of society.

The Congressional proposal calls for expanded air operations around the border. This could mean increased use of drones, which indiscriminately monitor everyone near the border—including American citizens and other legal residents going about their daily lives.

The proposal also calls for the use of “new cutting edge technology” at the border, which could refer to more automatic license plate readers or to biometric screening like face surveillance and DNA collection.

As the president addresses Congress this evening, let’s send lawmakers a message of our own: more surveillance funding is not the answer to the border security debate. Stop the Tech Wall.