Tech Companies Are Not Our Friends, Even the Seemingly Anodyne Ones
None of this is even remotely surprising to me, but it is outrageous.
Data broker LexisNexis Risk Solutions allegedly violated Illinois law by collecting and combining extensive personal information and selling it to third parties including federal immigration authorities, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by immigration advocates.
The result is “a grave threat to civil liberties,” the activists and two immigration advocacy groups argued. The lawsuit asks a Cook County judge to prevent the data broker from selling personal information without consent.
The complaint also notes that LexisNexis’ Accurint product, which is sold to law enforcement, incorporates information that isn’t publicly available, including correctional bookings, vehicle collision records and license plate reader databases.
Usually, you think of Lexis Nexis as a nice library database, or at least I do. But like every data company, the model maximizes profit when it can sell your privacy for profit. Worth noting as well that Illinois has probably the best data privacy law in the country so who knows what is going on elsewhere. Moreover, this is totally politicized for the right to take advantage of:
Immigration advocates have called attention to a $22 million contract between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and LexisNexis for that product, revealed in the results of a Freedom of Information Act request. They argue it poses a particular risk to activists and immigrants.
Sejal Zota, legal director at Just Futures Law and an attorney on the lawsuit, said the data broker makes it possible for ICE to “instantly access sensitive personal data — all without warrants, subpoenas, any privacy safeguards or any show of reasonableness.”
“Our plaintiffs view this alleged violation of their privacy as dehumanizing and unacceptable,” she said.
That’s for sure.