The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) company has been utilizing an AI-powered software referred to as Large Oak Search Know-how (GOST) to scan visa candidates’ social media posts since 2014, in response to paperwork obtained by a Freedom of Info Act motion.
In accordance with an Oct. 27 TechSpot report, the system offers candidates a “social media rating” from 1-100 primarily based on whether or not their posts are deemed “derogatory” in the direction of the USA. ICE analysts can then assessment flagged photographs and profiles to find out if candidates are a threat.
ICE has paid Large Oak over $10 million since 2017 for the expertise, which additionally has contracts with the DEA, Air Drive, State Division, and Treasury Division. Privateness advocates argue such a AI screening raises important civil liberties points.
Ought to the federal government use algorithms to look social media to find out who’s “dangerous?”
“The federal government shouldn’t be utilizing algorithms to scrutinize our social media posts and determine which of us is ‘dangerous,’” mentioned Patrick Toomey deputy director of the ACLU’s nationwide safety venture. “DHS wants to clarify to the general public how its methods decide whether or not somebody is a threat or not, and what occurs to the folks whose on-line posts are flagged by its algorithms.”
The social media surveillance program began as a 2016 pilot concentrating on potential visa overstayers. That very same yr, the Trump administration carried out guidelines requiring visa candidates to supply 5 years of social media historical past.
Specialists warn these practices might result in discrimination, with candidates from sure nations or backgrounds extra more likely to be flagged by automated methods. In 2019, a Harvard pupil was denied entry to the U.S. due to pals’ social media exercise.
In accordance with the data, ICE’s contract with Large Oak led to 2022. Nonetheless, the observe of utilizing AI to evaluate candidates’ social media raises questions on privateness, accountability, and equity in immigration enforcement. Extra oversight is required to stop abuse and shield civil liberties.
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