‘Secure Communities’ Revealed to be Gateway for FBI Data Gathering

Friday, July 8, 2011
By Paul Martin


Newly released documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request have revealed that the federal government’s Secure Communities deportation program is being used by the FBI to collect large amounts of biometric data into a database. The Secure Communities Program or S-Comm, is already rife with controversy for being sold to states as a voluntary program, only to be recast later as a mandatory one by the Obama administration. S-Comm is a pillar of current federal immigration policy and is supposed to provide a way to track and deport undocumented immigrants convicted of violent felonies. However, critics contend that it casts a much wider net. Following up from our report yesterday about the FBI’s political targeting of immigrant-rights activist Carlos Montes, these new revelations of the FBI’s larger than expected role in data gathering has confirmed fears of a growing system of dangerous government surveillance. The released documents were obtained by the National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network (NDLON) and others. The papers cite the FBI’s “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) project which will “expand the FBI’s existing fingerprint database to add iris scans, palm prints, and facial recognition information for a wide range of people.” NDLON’s Jessica Karp calls NGI “the Next Generation Big Brother.”

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