Border Patrol Spent $2 Million On Google Maps For A Massive Surveillance Tool
The US Customs and Border Protection agency has reportedly spent at least $2 million over the past three years on Google mapping software that supports the Automated Targeting System (ATS). ATS is a technology that creates a profile for every person who enters the US and determines the risk they post to national security. The technology is decades old, however, the new updates illuminate a massive and secretive surveillance system that draws on personal location data from government and commercial databases to formulate these risk assessments.
Although it’s unclear how Google Maps is specifically being used by the CBP, ATS can aid investigators in tracking individuals who have been making trips out of the country to locations such as Syria or Afghanistan. CBP’s use of Google Maps technology could be problematic for the tech giant, whose employees have already voiced their concerns over Google technology being used for discriminatory immigration policies. Security professional John Davisson states that ATS at this scale is a terrifying database of personally identifiable information being combined from dozens of law enforcement databases, calling the situation alarming.