Extreme Vetting

 

Update: On May 17, 2018, the Washington Post announced that the Department of Homeland Security had “thrown out” the proposal for tech companies to develop software to implement the proposed extreme vetting program. 

Extreme vetting is a proposal by the Trump administration to subject visa applicants and potential immigrants to enhanced investigatory procedures using software alogorithims to scrape data and computationally assess immigration and visa decisions.

Extreme vetting has followed Trump’s 3 consecutive “Muslim bans”, all of which have run into trouble with the federal judiciary. Among the sometimes listed countries: Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Yemen, and Lybia. Activist groups have referred to extreme vetting as a digital Muslim ban.

The Department of Homeland Security put out a requisition for software to perform the enhanced vetting in the fall of 2017, hosting a 2-day vendor show and tell in Arlington in the fall of 2017, attended by numerous technology companies.  The extreme vetting slide show and sign-in sheets for the events are below, courtesy of The Intercept.  Attendees included a who’s who of technology giants including IBM, Lexis-Nexis, SAS, Deloitte, Giant Oak, Unisys, Red Hat, Booz Allen and SAIC.

54 technology experts signed a letter of protest stating that the extreme vetting program was misguided, that software could not peform in the way intended in an accurate and objective manner, and that the program would inevitably result in biased targeting.

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