Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A cautionary message to law librarians about ICE's proposed "extreme vetting" program

Joe Hodnicki of the Law Librarian Blog brought to my attention this post from a pair of Professor-law librarians who are cautioning others in their field against allowing the services of law librarians and other information service professionals to be misused by ICE as part of the creation of its extreme vetting surveillance program presumably aimed at Muslims. As the post points out, law librarians are experts in searching the web and other databases for information and hence it would make sense that government officials might seek to leverage these skills in order to build personal information portfolios for targets of the extreme vetting program.  Joe's post also reports that several "big data" companies, including IBM, Deloitte, Booze Allen, and LexisNexis, among others, may have expressed interest in working with ICE on its extreme vetting program (the basis for that assertion comes from a blog called The Intercept (see the publication's "about" page here) the accuracy or reliability of which I can't vouch for).   I was unaware until I read Joe's post that as of 2006, LexisNexis had created the single largest database of public-records related information which no doubt would be an appealing resource to any entity interested in creating personal information dossiers. 

A post script to Joe's column at the Law Librarian Blog notes that the original post published at the RIPS (Research, Instruction, and Patron Services) Law Librarian Blog (which is maintained by the American Association of Law Libraries) was taken down on the advice of AALL's General Counsel. The RIPS blog offers no further explanation for that decision.  

Hat tip to Joe H.



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