Thursday, January 26, 2023
How the Arizona Attorney General Created a Secretive, Illegal Surveillance Program to Sweep up Millions of Our Financial Records
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report on a mass surveillance program facilitated by the Arizona Attorney General’s office and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The National Hispanic Media Coalition, among others, has expressed outrage at this breach in privacy and the pervasive surveillance and over-policing of Black, Latino, and immigrant communities:
"This invasion of privacy is particularly egregious because it disproportionately impacts historically and intentionally marginalized communities, who are already subject to law enforcement overreach: from the over policing of neighborhoods to the implementation of programs like 287(g). Most often, it is Black and Latino households and immigrant communities who utilize these financial service companies because they do not have access to traditional banking and financial services. Given that TRAC specifically targets those who use money transfer services, these communities are undoubtedly overrepresented in the database and therefore bear the burden of being baselessly surveilled for benign financial transactions.
NHMC continuously warned that the over policing of these communities is aggravated by lack of data privacy and protections as we saw when DHS purchased mass amounts of cell phone location records without a warrant. The revelation that this warrantless invasion of privacy is also occurring with personal and financial records through the Arizona Attorney General’s program is unconscionable. NHMC applauds the ACLU’s report and their call to end this financial surveillance program, which is the necessary first step to hold the government accountable. We will continue to call out these example of Black and Brown communities suffering the worst consequences of a lack of data privacy and work towards securing protections for our communities."