Immigration Advocates Sue LexisNexis Over Personal Data | Company

CHICAGO (AP) — Data broker LexisNexis Risk Solutions allegedly violated Illinois law by collecting and combining extensive personal information and selling it to third parties, including federal immigration authorities, a lawsuit alleges. filed Tuesday by immigration advocates.

The result is “a serious threat to civil liberties”, argued activists and two immigration advocacy groups. The lawsuit asks a Cook County judge to stop the data broker from selling personal information without consent.

The complaint also notes that LexisNexis’ Accurint product, which is sold to law enforcement, incorporates information that is not publicly available, including correctional bookings, vehicle collision records and drive databases. license plates.

A representative for Georgia-based LexisNexis Risk Solutions did not immediately respond to a request for comment shortly after the complaint was filed.

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Immigration advocates have drawn attention to a $22 million contract between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and LexisNexis for this product, revealed in the results of a Freedom of Information Act request. They argue that this poses a particular risk for activists and immigrants.

Sejal Zota, legal director of Just Futures Law and attorney on the lawsuit, said the data broker allows ICE “instant access to sensitive personal data – all without warrants, subpoenas, privacy guarantees or no evidence of reasonableness”.

“Our complainants view this alleged invasion of their privacy as dehumanizing and unacceptable,” she said.

In the case of a woman, the information available through Accuint includes her past and current addresses, phone number, date of birth and an incorrect Social Security number, according to the lawsuit. Detailed reports produced on two other women involved in the case included full social security numbers.

“There is a key difference between collecting personal information through publicly available resources (Internet, court records, archives, etc.) and collecting information through an encyclopedic record that compiles all records, including those that are not accessible to the public, in a single, easily accessible and computerized profile,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit was filed in Cook County, which includes Chicago. Local officials have been investigating whether federal immigration authorities can use data broker information to circumvent the county’s ban on complying with ICE requests to detain people without lawful authorization to be in the country.

Antonio Gutierrez, strategic coordinator and co-founder of Organized Communities Against Deportation, said the organization signed the lawsuit because it viewed data brokers as a way for ICE to circumvent existing boundaries. Gutierrez said it took years of advocacy to create policies preventing cities, counties and the Illinois state government from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

“We just asked ourselves, ‘How do we fight this?'” he said, noting that some of the information comes from basic consumer interactions, such as creating a utility account or registering for it. getting a car loan. “The entity that should be responsible for its operation is LexisNexis.”

In California, data broker Thomson Reuters is facing a similar lawsuit that accuses the company of breaking state law by collecting and selling residents’ personal information to businesses, law enforcement and to government agencies. This case was filed in 2020 by two activists supported by several privacy groups.

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