Lawsuit Seeks Answers to Privacy and Data Risks Associated with the CBP One App

December 21, 2021

WASHINGTON—The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit Monday in federal court against U.S. Customs and Border Protection requesting information about CBP One—an app designed to help process individuals entering the United States including asylum seekers that has raised concerns among immigration and privacy advocates.

The lawsuit seeks to uncover records about the efficiency and accuracy of the technology employed by CBP One, including its use of facial recognition and GPS location technologies. The lawsuit also seeks to inform the public about CBP’s implementation of the app and plans for its future use, as well as how CBP plans to share information with other law enforcement agencies.

CBP launched the app in 2020, stating it was intended to allow merchants to make appointments for cargo inspection, foreign travelers to apply for an arrival and departure record, and organizations in Mexico to verify whether individuals are enrolled in the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

CBP One’s use of facial recognition and GPS location 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 remains unclear.

“Though the app’s efficiencies may seem obvious at first glance, the vast amount of data that CBP could collect with this app should give the public pause. If not closely guarded, these technologies could track immigrants and use collected data in ways that are outside of the app’s stated purposes,” said Raul Pinto, senior staff attorney at the American Immigration Council. “Disclosure of the requested information will advance public awareness and understanding of how CBP plans to use the app to process individuals entering the United States, and how the agency plans to use the app’s facial-recognition and GPS location technologies—now and in the future.”

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenges the failure of CBP to timely respond to a FOIA request submitted in July.  

A copy of the complaint is here.



For more information, contact:

Maria Frausto, American Immigration Council, [email protected], 202-507-7526.

Media Contact

Elyssa Pachico
[email protected]

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