Investigating CBP’s Use of Mobile Application CBP One

Thursday, July 29, 2021

What is CBP One and why is it concerning?

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched a new app that can be downloaded on mobile devices called CBP One. According to the agency, CBP One has three main uses: merchants can make appointments for cargo inspection, foreign travelers can apply for an arrival and departure record, otherwise known as an I-94, and organizations in Mexico can verify whether individuals are enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). To access some of these functions, CBP One uses facial-recognition GPS location technologies. These technologies can potentially be used to monitor and track immigrants in the country.

CBP One’s use of this technology raises concerns regarding potential impacts on immigrants' civil rights and liberties. While CBP has published some information about the app, these publicly available documents are scattered, and the extent to which the agency plans to use the app in the future remain unclear.

Why was this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed?

The Council submitted a FOIA request to CBP, asking for records relating to CBP One and its features. The FOIA requests:

  1. Documents demonstrating how CBP seeks to address racial disparities in facial recognition technology and the technology's overall effectiveness.
  2. Information about the development of CBP One.
  3. Documents that discuss how CBP plans to use CBP One, now and in the future.
  4. Information relating to policies on how CBP may share information captured by CBP One with other law enforcement agencies.
  5. Documents about how CBP implemented the app, including training to CBP staff and users.
This FOIA Lawsuit seeks to compel CBP to release information about its implementation of CBP One, an app designed to streamline interactions between CBP officers and travelers, including asylum seekers, that has raised concerns amongst advocates.

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