Friday, December 9, 2022

Report: DHS Open for Business: How Tech Corporations Bring the War on Terror to our Neighborhoods

Dhs business

A Report Published by the Immigrant Defense Project's Surveillance, Tech and Immigration Policing Project, the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE), LittleSis, and MediaJustice

The report, “DHS Open for Business: How Tech Corporations Bring the War on Terror to our Neighborhoods,” investigates how DHS funding and corporations drive demand for “homeland security,” expanding militarized policing in our communities. Through our research, we found that DHS fueled a massive influx of money into surveillance and policing in our cities, under a banner of emergency response and counterterrorism—and with the support of its corporate partners like Microsoft, LexisNexis, ShotSpotter, Palantir, and Motorola Solutions. 

In the last twenty years, DHS has devastated communities through surveillance, police militarization, and deportation; these harms make clear to us that “homeland security” doesn’t make us safer, but it does make corporations richer. This report provides organizers and policymakers an understanding of the role that corporations play in shaping “homeland security” policy, adding evidence to growing calls for action to shut off “counterterrorism” funding pipelines that result in more contracts for corporations and bring militarized policing into our neighborhoods.

Here is the Executive Summary:

"In the aftermath of 9/11, the George W. Bush administration launched the global “War on Terror,” capitalizing on public fears and calls for retaliation to justify military intervention and Islamophobic violence across the world. This war demonized and targeted Muslims, both abroad and in the United States. In 2002, the administration founded the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), forcibly reframing federal immigration services, emergency response, and data analysis under a mission to “secure the homeland.” This reorganization codified the false link between immigration and terrorism. Instead of making people safe, DHS and its corporate partners used “counterterrorism” to expand policing and surveillance in neighborhoods across the country, targeting immigrant and Muslim communities and intensifying the War on Terror at our doorsteps. 

Since its founding, DHS has relied on a state of “emergency” to carry out its operations. Twenty years later, this state of “emergency” has not ended and immigration policing, “national security,” and surveillance have become big business.

Our report investigates how DHS funding and corporations drive demand for “homeland security,” expanding militarized policing in our communities. Through our research, we found that DHS fueled a massive influx of money into surveillance and policing in our cities, under a banner of emergency response and counterterrorism—and with the support of its corporate partners like Microsoft, LexisNexis, ShotSpotter, Palantir, and Motorola Solutions

Specifically, this report presents data on how DHS funneled billions in grant funding to our cities through programs like the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). We found that DHS and local policing agencies use this “counterterrorism” grant program to expand surveillance, supercharge militarized police departments, and funnel money right back to the same corporations that advocate for this funding. We focus our research findings on four cities—Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, and Chicago—documenting how UASI grants intensify local policing and benefit corporations. We spotlight data fusion centers—institutions that enable interagency information sharing and are heavily funded by UASI—as an example of how industry and government collaborate to build systems that criminalize Muslim, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities in our neighborhoods.

The DHS annual budget ballooned from $19.5 billion in 2002 to almost $100 billion in 2023channeling much of these funds into corporate pockets. Our research investigates the role of corporations in creating demand for “homeland security” technology and DHS, from even before 9/11 to today. Our research found that corporations including MicrosoftLexisNexis, and Motorola Solutions, which market themselves as working for the public good, collectively make billions in revenue through DHS and government contracts for policing and surveillance—including through contracts and programs funded by UASI. We tell the story of how tech corporations fund and collaborate with law enforcement associations and think tanks, aggressively supporting the expansion of the “homeland security” machine through DHS grant funding and data fusion centers. Flush with public funds funneled through DHS, corporations help create the booming industry of policing and mass surveillance in our communities.

In the last twenty years, DHS has devastated our communities through surveillance, police militarization, and deportation; these harms make clear to us that “homeland security” doesn’t make us safer, but it does make corporations richer. This report provides organizers and policymakers an understanding of the role that corporations play in shaping “homeland security” policy, adding evidence to growing calls for action to shut off “counterterrorism” funding pipelines that result in more contracts for corporations and bring militarized policing into our neighborhoods."

KJ

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2022/12/report-dhs-open-for-business-how-tech-corporations-bring-the-war-on-terror-to-our-neighborhoods.html

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Comments

I was a policy advisor in the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, so I am familiar with classified information law. This report is based on information that is available to the public, which would not include reports on terrorist activities or success in stopping such activities. How then can the author judge the value of the counter terrorism enforcement programs?

Posted by: Nolan Rappaport | Dec 9, 2022 11:25:32 AM

Classified information is restricted even among members of the intelligence community with high security classifications. They have to have what is known as "a need to know" to access the kind of information that would be needed to evaluate the effectiveness of our anti terrorism activities.

Posted by: Nolan Rappaport | Dec 9, 2022 11:28:27 AM

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