Border Patrol Spent $2 Million On Google Maps For A Massive Surveillance Tool

For every person who enters America, a profile is drawn up and a determination made on their risk to national security. It’s the same for any cargo or packages. And it’s all done using a tool known as the Automated Targeting System (ATS). This decades-old technology helps border staff decide whether or not you or a shipment needs to be pulled aside for further inspection before being allowed into the country.

Run by Customs and Border Protection, it’s been controversial since the mid-2000s, when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pivoted its use from just targeting cargo to tracking people. Though it’s primarily engineered by lesser-known tech contractors, one of the technologies the ATS uses is Google Maps. Through a review of government contract records and a FOIA request response, Forbes has learned that the CBP has spent at least $2 million in the last three years on the Google mapping software to support ATS, which critics say is a secretive, “terrifying,” huge surveillance system, one that draws in personal and location data from a vast number of government and commercial databases to make its risk assessments. 

Whilst ATS can help investigators target individuals or packages that have been making suspicious trips to places of interest, such as Syria or Afghanistan, its use on any visitor to America makes it particularly troubling for privacy advocates. And CBP’s use of Google technology could be problematic for a tech giant whose own employees have voiced anger about its work with Trump’s immigration agencies.

“ATS is sort of this terrifying master database of vast quantities of personally identifiable information that’s being funneled in from dozens of different law enforcement and other databases,” said John Davidson, lead counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), who said the use of Google tech in

Computer glitch causes congestion at Queensland border hours after reopening to Northern NSW

Queensland police say the online border declaration pass is malfunctioning for some border zone residents attempting to enter the state.

It comes just hours after Queensland eased border restrictions to allow residents in areas of northern New South Wales to enter the state without undergoing quarantine.

Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler confirmed locals in some of the newly added northern New South Wales areas were not being recognised by the system.

He said the glitch was due to an overload of information in the system and was impacting up to seven suburbs.

“Unfortunately there’s been a couple of IT issues around some suburbs, the relevant government department is working through that now as we speak,” Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.

“It’s been a mammoth task by housing and public works.

“All Queensland postcodes for the entire state have had to be loaded into the system so understandably there’s a lot of stress on the system but they’re working through it.”

Police said Queensland residents intending on travelling within the New South Wales border zone and re-entering Queensland, would need to apply for the updated X pass, also known as “Border Zone Resident Declaration Pass”.

Chief Superintendent Wheeler said efforts were being made to fix the glitch.

Police said anyone affected could show proof of their address at the border and would be able to apply for a pass in person.

‘It should have been ironed out’

Ballina Councillor Eoin Johnston was booked in for a surgical procedure at a Gold Coast hospital but the glitch in the online system told him his address was outside the border zone.

He drove to the border not knowing if he would get to his appointment.

“I got up early, before 5:00am. I was on the computer, I went through the procedure, I