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17 May 2022

The Immigrant Defense Project, Just Futures Law & Mijente

USA: Report warns about the HART biometric database and its potential human rights risks

"Hart Attack: How DHS’s massive biometrics database will supercharge surveillance and threaten rights", 17 May 2022

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is building a ... next-wave biometric database that will vastly expand its surveillance capabilities and supercharge the deportation system. The Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System (HART) will collect, organize, and share invasive data on over 270 million people (including juveniles)...

Powered by military-grade technologies, HART will aggregate and compare biometrics data including facial recognition, DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and voice prints—most often gathered without obtaining consent or a warrant. This will allow DHS to target immigrants for surveillance, raids, arrests, detention, and deportation. HART could be used to identify people in public spaces, creating chilling consequences for people’s rights to protest, assemble, associate, and to live their daily lives. HART threatens to violate human and privacy rights at an exponential rate, particularly in Black, brown, and immigrant communities already facing discriminatory policing and surveillance.

Our report explains the dangers of HART by diving into the system’s mechanics, costs, and biometric and biographic data sources. We spotlight the companies profiting from HART’s development, and the agencies, private companies, and foreign governments that will contribute to and access its data. We outline the short- and long-term civil, privacy, and human rights risks.