The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) company has been utilizing an AI-powered device known as Giant Oak Search Technology (GOST) to scan visa candidates’ social media posts since 2014, in accordance with paperwork obtained by way of a Freedom of Information Act motion.
According to an Oct. 27 TechSpot report, the system provides candidates a “social media score” from 1-100 primarily based on whether or not their posts are deemed “derogatory” in the direction of the United States. ICE analysts can then overview flagged pictures and profiles to find out if candidates are a danger.
ICE has paid Giant Oak over $10 million since 2017 for the expertise, which additionally has contracts with the DEA, Air Force, State Department, and Treasury Department. Privacy advocates argue the sort of AI screening raises vital civil liberties points.
Should the federal government use algorithms to go looking social media to find out who’s “risky?”
“The government should not be using algorithms to scrutinize our social media posts and decide which of us is ‘risky,’” mentioned Patrick Toomey deputy director of the ACLU’s nationwide safety challenge. “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 began as a 2016 pilot focusing on potential visa overstayers. That similar 12 months, the Trump administration applied guidelines requiring visa candidates to supply 5 years of social media historical past.
Experts warn these practices might result in discrimination, with candidates from sure international locations or backgrounds extra prone to be flagged by automated methods. In 2019, a Harvard pupil was denied entry to the U.S. due to pals’ social media exercise.
According to the information, ICE’s contract with Giant Oak led to 2022. Still, the apply of utilizing AI to evaluate candidates’ social media raises questions on privateness, accountability, and equity in immigration enforcement. More oversight is required to stop abuse and shield civil liberties.
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