Homeland Security purchases cellphone location data for immigration and border enforcement

by Bryan Brammer · Feb 7th, 2020 11:48 am

Last Updated Feb 7th, 2020 at 2:43 pm

The Department of Homeland Security is using location data pulled from cellphone apps to detect and track down immigrants who may be entering the United States illegally, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The Trump administration purchased access to a commercial database that charts the movement of cellphones in the U.S. to assist federal agents with border enforcement and illegal immigration.

The location data is derived from cellphone apps, such as games, social media, and weather, in which the user has given permission to track the phone's location.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency within DHS, also uses the data to track cellphone activity in unusual locations near the Mexican border.

🔦 In 2018, the location data was used to track and arrest smugglers using a tunnel to transport drugs between the U.S. and Mexico that ended inside a closed Kentucky Fried Chicken near San Luis, Arizona.


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