Private intelligence company monitored people protesting Trump’s family separation policies


A private intelligence company, LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, used social media to monitor more than 600 “Family Separation Day Protests” held across the United States on June 30, 2018, to oppose the Trump administration’s policy family separation policy. The policy was part of a “zero tolerance” approach to deter asylum seekers from coming to the United States by separating children from their parents. After collecting information about these protests through Facebook, including the precise times and locations, LookingGlass shared the information with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and state law enforcement agencies, which then provided it to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). While the US government did not directly solicit this information from LookingGlass, the company already had a working relationship with DHS and appears to have shared the information with an eye towards strengthening that relationship. Subjecting people to heightened scrutiny simply for exercising their democratic rights threatens peoples’ ability to express themselves and organise for change. Many who attended these protests were families with children, who may have now been added to some kind of government watch list. Advocates criticized the administration for focussing efforts on monitoring those who disagreed with the government’s policies, rather than reuniting children who had been separated from their parents.

Writer: Ryan Devereaux

Publication: The Intercept