The data firms hired by ICE to hunt people down raise alarm about a hidden surveillance industry

Last week, five activists in Vermont sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration agency for violating their First Amendment rights, alleging that the agency used techniques typically reserved for disrupting organized crime networks to track their movements for years.

Despite a Department of Homeland Security policy that supposedly prioritized enforcement against immigrants with serious criminal records, the plaintiffs allege that ICE targeted them for deportation and surveilled their farmworker rights group, Migrant Justice, planting an informant in the group, attempting to hack into the email accounts of its members, and compiling detailed dossiers on their activities and social circles.