Forbes: US Immigration Splurged $2.2 Million On Phone Hacking Tech Just After Trump’s Travel Ban by Thomas Fox-Brewster:
On March 9, just three days after President Trump signed off his second attempt at a travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ordered $2 million worth of what’s believed to be some of the most powerful phone and laptop hacking technology available. The tech was sold by the U.S. government’s go-to supplier when it wants to raid the contents of individuals’ digital lives, Israeli supplier Cellebrite, as revealed in public records on a purchase order discovered by Forbes. Together with evidence the DHS Agency went on a hacking tool shopping spree after Trump came into power, in which it spent record sums on Cellebrite and its competitors, the contracts have sparked alarm amongst privacy activists anxious about unnecessarily invasive searches of travelers’ devices.
ICE’s Mission Support unit in Dallas, Texas, made the massive order of Cellebrite Universal Forensic Extraction Devices (UFEDs), which have the ability to crack open mobile devices and rapidly rip out all the data inside for cops to poke through. Such Mission Support units work within ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division; one of its core roles is the execution of forensic searches on devices coming in at the border.