US intelligence profiling based on country of origin

Since 2001, data mining based on algorithmic processing has been increasingly used by law enforcement agencies around the world to prevent terrorism. In particular, US security agencies have developed different programs aimed at identifying suspects by mining data from multiple databases, including those that store names of passengers and records of flights. According to some studies, the application of predictive data mining within these programs to fight terrorism may be using country of origin as the main reference, distinguishing Arab countries by their high level of risk (Guzik, 2009).

Persons of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) backgrounds have thus far borne the burden of the aggressive state response to the September 11 attacks, and it is reasonable to suspect that this discrimination has already become codified within the algorithms of data mining technology. Thus, social justice exists as a key concern. If the law promises the resources for reeling in the threats to civil liberties presented by the ‘War on Terrorism,’ it would not seem to offer the same for remedying the unequal burden of such threats. The War on Drugs, the policing of immigration, and past international disputes with ‘terrorist regimes’ have provided a “crime jurisprudence” that legitimizes such discrimination. From this view then, the ground for optimism appears fragile at best (Guzik, 2009).