Stop Trump's Attacks on Our Privacy and Free Speech

Stop government surveillance and invasion of privacy

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that, on October 18th, it will begin collecting additional information on immigrants, green card holders, and any foreign-born US citizen who was naturalized after 1944. An expansion of what they call “A Files” will now include social media information, information available via public search, and info held by commercial data suppliers like Equifax.

DHS already maintains certain types of social media information on immigrants, and this new rule would expand what is kept and how it is used. However, the DHS inspector general issued a report in February 2017 stating that these type of surveillance programs "lack criteria for measuring performance to ensure they meet their objectives," meaning that they can’t tell if we are gaining measurable security for the privacy and freedom of speech that we are giving up.

These changes will also capture the data of anyone with whom surveilled individuals communicate on social media, even through something as simple as a “like” of an article on Facebook.

There are ca. 43 million foreign-born persons in the US right now. This new scheme by the government will put basically all of us under surveillance to one degree or another.

Beyond being a gross invasion of privacy and a chiller of free-speech, a move like this furthers the “Americans” vs. immigrants narrative that this administration is peddling to fire-up their base and keep this country divided. It’s the opposite of what we need right now.

This week the Trump administration also announced that the DOJ presented Facebook with a warrant for the Facebook info on 3 users associated with anti-Trump protests.  After this, where does it stop? How many freedoms will we give up under the guise of “safety.” We cannot let this happen unopposed. We must resist.

What can you do?

- Leave a comment for DHS telling them how grossly unamerican this is. Click here to be directed to the place where you can comment online.

- Submit a hard copy letter by fax or by mail. Please identify docket number DHS-2017-0038 in your correspondence:

  • Fax: 202-343-4010.
  • Mail: Jonathan R. Cantor, Acting Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528-0655.

- Call DHS and ask them to reverse the ruling.  See 5 Calls for phone number and script.  

- Submit a pre-written letter to your Congressmen using the action linked to this campaign.  They may not be able to intervene, but it never hurts to try.

- Share this Facebook post from our partner PA Empower and ask your network to leave comments on the DHS site.

- Tweet about it:     Tell DHS no further social media surveillance of immigrants and naturalized citizens. Comment here:

- Write a letter to the editor about why this is a terrible idea.   Here is a list of media outlets that could publish your letter. Below are some talking points to help you:

  • If you are, or if you know, someone who this applies to, and you feel comfortable sharing your point of view, please do so.
  • Surveillance like this will create a chilling effect on the free speech of American citizens and their families. It also constitutes an invasion of privacy.
  • The DHS inspector general has found that these surveillance programs don’t work as currently executed, so why are we giving up freedoms to expend them?
  • This expansion of social media and electronic data would put American citizens under surveillance with no reason and no warrant.
  • This administration is further dividing a country that wants to heal by pitting us against each other along ethnic and racial lines. This is un-American and the opposite of what this country has historically stood for.

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