Advocacy groups demand transparency and accountability to safeguards rights and dignity against Israeli facial recognition surveillance technologies
La Unión del Pueblo Entero, South Texans for Reproductive Justice, and Never Again Action have jointly criticized Texas for employing Israeli software, Cobwebs Technologies, and facial recognition software from Clearview AI. These technologies raise concerns about potential violations of privacy and civil liberties, sparking demands for transparency and accountability in their use. The advocacy groups are calling for safeguards to protect the rights and dignity of individuals, particularly those in vulnerable communities along the Rio Grande Valley.
Sergio Treviño, Digital Organizer at LUPE, said, “I urge the Department of Justice, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, and president Joe Biden to investigate the state of Texas's Operational Lonestar (OLS) and its harmful impact on the civil liberties of asylum seekers and residents in and around the U.S.-Texas border. Enough is enough, we know that the billions of dollars that are being invested in these death traps at the border, detention systems in our backyard, and unconstitutional surveillance software in our pocket. Could be used to fund the needs of working class communities struggling to get by.”
Mae Hardebeck, Leader in Never Again Action – Austin, said, “Operation Lone Star has continued to be destructive to our communities in Texas in so many ways – infringing on our civil liberties through invasive digital surveillance technology, irreversible ecological destruction to the Rio Grande and the land around it, and setting up barriers deliberately designed to drown or severely injure asylum seekers. It is clear that instead of funding Texas residents’ needs, resources have overwhelmingly been used to continuously hire and accelerate the militarization of the border, even as the local communities suffer as a result. $4.5 *BILLION* dollars and counting has been put into Operation Lone Star so far. The surveillance industry is benefitting from this – all while asylum seekers face further harm, and our local communities continue to lose our financial and spatial resources. All of the human rights violations taking place need to be investigated by the federal government, and Operation Lone Star needs to end.”
Noemi M. Pratt, Board President for South Texans for Reproductive Justice, said, “It is shameful and infuriating that Governor Abbott’s Operation Lone Star continues to grow and employ more power, including the use of digital surveillance and face recognition technologies. For those of us in border communities, constant surveillance is not new. From the over-policing of our cities to the surveillance blimps, often used in war zones, that overlook our neighborhoods, invasive surveillance techniques disrupt the lives of those of us living on the border. The State of Texas has taken skewed data to deploy a disaster declaration and justify their overreach of power. The step to use controversial technologies that track border residents without their explicit consent is reprimandable. A staple of Reproductive Justice is the innate right people have to raise their families in a safe community. To us that includes the right to privacy, regardless of where we live.”
These organizations are circulating a petition to amplify the call for justice and advocate for the rights of asylum seekers and their families. bit.ly/DefendAsylumSeekers
To arrange virtual or in person interviews with Sergio Treviño, Digital Organizer, of LUPE, contact Ramiro Gonzalez, LUPE Communications Coordinator, at (956) 360-4277 or email@example.com. Interviews available in English and Spanish.
To arrange virtual or in person interviews with South Texans for Reproductive Rights contact STRJ at firstname.lastname@example.org
To arrange a virtual interview with Mae Hardebeck, Leader in Never Again Action, Contact Mae Hardebeck at (781)-492-7334 or email@example.com
Never Again Action is a Jewish-led mobilization against the persecution, detention, and deportation of immigrants in the United States. We fight alongside our immigrant partners for a world free of detention and deportation, and for collective liberation.
South Texans For Reproductive Rights (STRJ) is a BIPOC, queer-led organization which came together in 2013 as Texas abortion clinics faced targeted political attacks. We officially launched in 2014 and received our 501(c)3 non-profit status in 2019. STRJ is based in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) on the Texas-Mexico border. We currently serve twelve counties in South Texas.