A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] found former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty [order, PDF] of criminal contempt on Monday. The court found Arpaio did not comply with a court order to stop detaining Latinos based solely on their immigration status. The matter was presented before Judge Susan Bolton, a senior federal judge with the District Court for the District of Arizona. Bolton found that Arpaio, "willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates' compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed." Counsel for Arpaio said that they believe a jury would have found in Arpaio's favor and said they intend to appeal the matter.
Both Democratic and Republican administrations have long viewed a biometric exit system as preferable to paper documents to ensure border security, but for years the technology to collect that information was slow to take hold. Now devices that gather biometric information, from smartphones to security systems, are in widespread use.
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But the biometric exit system has come under criticism from privacy rights groups, who say the facial recognition scans, while ostensibly set up to make sure foreign visitors leave the country, are an invasive form of surveillance of American citizens. Harrison Rudolph, a fellow at the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University Law School, raised issues about the accuracy of facial recognition scans and said the agency had not laid out clear guidelines on how the system was to be used.