Visa applicants face AI monitoring of social media by U.S. ICE

Visa applicants face AI monitoring of social media by U.S. ICE

Visa applicants U.S.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) organ has been using an AI-powered tool tabbed Giant Oak Search Technology (GOST) to scan visa applicants’ social media posts since 2014, equal to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act action.

According to an Oct. 27 TechSpot report, the system gives applicants a “social media score” from 1-100 based on whether their posts are deemed “derogatory” towards the United States. ICE analysts can then review flagged images and profiles to determine if applicants are a risk.

ICE has paid Giant Oak over $10 million since 2017 for the technology, which moreover has contracts with the DEA, Air Force, State Department, and Treasury Department. Privacy advocates oppose this type of AI screening raises significant starchy liberties issues.

Should the government use algorithms to search social media to determine who is “risky?”

“The government should not be using algorithms to scrutinize our social media posts and decide which of us is ‘risky,'” said Patrick Toomey deputy director of the ACLU’s national security project. “DHS needs to explain to the public how its systems determine whether someone is a risk or not, and what happens to the people whose online posts are flagged by its algorithms.”

The social media surveillance program started as a 2016 pilot targeting potential visa overstayers. That same year, the Trump wardship implemented rules requiring visa applicants to provide five years of social media history.

Experts warn these practices could lead to discrimination, with applicants from unrepealable countries or backgrounds increasingly likely to be flagged by streamlined systems. In 2019, a Harvard student was denied entry to the U.S. considering of friends’ social media activity.

According to the records, ICE’s contract with Giant Oak ended in 2022. Still, the practice of using AI to assess applicants’ social media raises questions well-nigh privacy, accountability, and fairness in immigration enforcement. Increasingly oversight is needed to prevent vituperate and protect starchy liberties.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thank you!

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