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U.S. Border Agency Expected To Increase AI, Robot Spending

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is expected to increase the use of robots and AI technology along the southern border, Axios reports. Last week, the agency announced a contract with Virginia-based Pangiam to build an artificial intelligence tool to scan vehicles and cargo crossing at the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s one element in a crowd of  defense contractors and high-tech companies that are racing to get a piece of the billions of dollars CBP is expected to spend on AI and biometric technology for border security in the near future. The technology comes more than a decade after the Department of Homeland Security scrapped plans for a high-tech virtual wall. Now, the technology has advanced. 


Critics say government officials aren't being transparent about what they are doing with the data they are collecting on U.S. citizens or how long they keep it. The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report this year  saying the Department of Homeland Security, along with other agencies, used facial recognition systems for criminal probes without requiring staff training. The CBP is also struggling with staffing shortages. Yet, it is also working with Altana, a startup that operates a global supply chain platform, to develop tech that helps track down the precursor chemicals used in fentanyl production to help stop the drug from being created. A research and development arm of DHS has been working with the Philadelphia-based company Ghost Robotics to develop a robot dog to patrol the border. CBP has also installed license plate readers at checkpoints at or near the border and is using facial recognition systems for passengers arriving on international flights.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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