Modern Border Security Turns to Webs of High Tech Surveillance Systems, Not Walls

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A high-resolution surveillance camera, manned by U.S. military personnel, scans near the U.S.-Mexico border in Penitas, Texas. U.S.  (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden stopped construction on Trump’s signature wall along the southern border, but he’s asking for more than a billion dollars in his proposed budget for border infrastructure including modern security technology to bolster a “smart wall” increasingly reliant on surveillance tech that backers in Congress have called an effective and humane approach. But critics say the use of facial recognition software, license plate readers, ground sensors and mobile surveillance towers that send alerts to border agents are part of an increasingly militarized border that drives migrants to deadlier paths and imperils the privacy rights of residents near the border. We’ll talk about the new approach to border security and the private defense surveillance tech industry that benefits from it.


Erica Hellerstein , senior reporter, Coda Story