Trump Attacks Privacy of Non-Americans in the U.S.

Amidst the general horror that is Trump’s xenophobic and bigoted executive orders, and in the executive order attacking sanctuary cities, comes Trump’s attack on the privacy of immigrants (h/t Dennis Crouch at Patently-O).  The order stipulates:

“Privacy Act.  [Federal] Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.”

The Act does not require protection extend to non-permanent residents; Crouch provides the context, noting that “some agencies, however, have been providing aspects of privacy-act protections to non-citizens and permanent residents.  The order appears to force agencies to stop that approach and instead expand governmental data collection and dissemination of information related to non-Americans.”  In other words, expand the surveillance state as much as possible.  I don’t see how this expansion won’t involve the collection of data on citizens, since citizens often interact with those in the U.S. lawfully or otherwise (for example, as students, H1-B workers, or under other programs), and so a threat to the privacy of non-citizens is indirectly a threat to the privacy of everyone in the United States.

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