Advocacy groups urge Congress not to support ‘smart wall’ border technology

A group of tech and civil rights advocacy groups are calling on Congress to keep any new surveillance drones, license plate readers and biometric technology off the southern border as part of the ongoing national debate on immigration and border security.

The deployment of “new cutting edge technology” at the border, rather than a physical wall, is a compromise that Democrats have said they are willing to make. But organizations like Fight for the Future, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and more say this vague description of what’s often referred to as a “smart wall” raises concerns.

“We know that the border is often a testing ground for surveillance technology that is later deployed throughout the United States,” the group wrote in a letter sent to the attention of the House of Representatives. “Ubiquitous surveillance technology poses a serious threat to human rights and constitutional liberties.”