'Not a Good Answer': Privacy Advocates Reject Democratic Proposal for 'Technological Wall' With Expanded Border Surveillance

Progressives in recent weeks have applauded Democrats’ refusal to bend to President Donald Trump’s demands for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key component of his xenophobic anti-immigration agenda. But on Friday, digital rights advocates called on Democratic lawmakers to expand their fight against the wall into a fight for all human and constitutional rights—instead of suggesting alternative “border security” proposals that would infringe on civil liberties.

Fight for the Future launched a campaign Friday to fight against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) suggestion on Thursday that a so-called “technological wall” would be an appropriate alternative to Trump’s planned concrete or steel wall.

Trump, Pelosi said in a press conference, “knows we all support border security and that there’s a better way to do it…90 percent of the drugs come in through the ports of entry. So what we are proposing is to build the infrastructure of the ports of entry…to have the scanning technology to scan cars coming through, for drugs, contraband of any kind, weapons even.”

“The positive, shall we say, almost technological wall that can be built is what we should be doing,” Pelosi said.

Fight for the Future swiftly circulated a petition following Pelosi’s speech, calling on Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Schuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) not to replace Trump’s proposed wall—which critics say would further endanger migrant families coming to the U.S.—with a surveillance system that would threaten their right to be protected from unlawful search and seizure.

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