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2 Aug 2022

USA: Report warns of significant human rights risks from HART biometric database & CSOs call on AWS to terminate agreement to host the database

Lucia Sandoval & Deon Eli Reed Jr

In May 2022 Immigrant Defense Project, Just Futures Law & Mijente published its "Hart Attack: How DHS’s massive biometrics database will supercharge surveillance and threaten rights". The report reveals that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is building the Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology System (HART) database, a massive biometric database that will vastly expand the agency's surveillance capabilities and supercharge its deportation system. According to the report, HART will aggregate and compare biometrics data including facial recognition, DNA, iris scans, fingerprints, and voice prints from billion of people allowing the DHS to target immigrants for surveillance, raids, arrests, detention, and deportation. The report warns that 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. In addition, the report spotlighted the companies that contribute to HART’s invasion of privacy and human rights.

At the end of May over 35 human rights organizations sent a joint letter to Amazon Web Services calling on the company to end its agreement to host the HART database.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Veritas Capital, NEC, Peraton, Thales Corporation, NTT Data Federal Services, Inc., Global Infotek, Inc., Amazon Web Services, Bayfirst Solutions, The Mitre Corporation, and General Dynamics to respond to the allegations. Only NEC respond to the allegation contained in the report.

Company Responses

The Mitre Corporation

No Response

Peraton

No Response

Veritas Capital

No Response

NTT Data Federal Services, Inc.

No Response

Global Infotek, Inc.

No Response

Amazon AWS Data Exchange

No Response

General Dynamics

No Response

Thales

No Response

Bayfirst Solutions (part of Versar)

No Response

Timeline