Suffredin- Changing County Government  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Organizers warn of ‘Welcoming County’ loophole as Cook County leaders look to close ICE’s ‘back door’ to court data

Friday, July 29, 2022
The Daily Line
by Chris Gentry

A decade-old firewall designed to prevent the U.S. Office of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from getting ahold of Cook County data hasn’t stopped the federal agency from trying anyway, and county officials are straining to reinforce confidence that some data won’t slip through the cracks.

In Fiscal Year 2020, ICE issued more than 1,000 detainer requests to Cook County, which Cook County law enforcement agencies?rejected due to the county’s sanctuary policies. The Cook County Board of Commissioners’ Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee met for a hearing Wednesday to investigate whether ICE is bypassing the county’s sanctuary protections through the use of data brokers.

Cook County made history in 2011 with the passage of the “Fair and Equal County for Immigrants” Ordinance.?

“These ordinances said that this county will not cooperate with the federal deportation machinery. It will not respond to federal detainers and requests for information, no exceptions,” said Fred Tsao, Senior Policy Counsel for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee rights speaking before the commission on Wednesday.

The state followed quickly after passing the Illinois Trust Act, which codified similar principles at the state level.?

While there have been claims of isolated instances of cooperation with ICE still taking place, these ordinances and state laws have removed much of the information that ICE was using to locate undocumented immigrants. Still, some organizers claim ICE has then turned to data brokers to find a workaround to access public and private information on residents of Cook County.?

“While Cook County has closed the front service window, ICE is trying to take advantage of back doors,” Tsao said.?

Wednesday’s hearing was brought about by a resolution (22-2815) filed in April by Cook County Comm. Alma Anaya (D-7) calling on county officials to “discuss the potential risks of data brokers sharing and/or selling personal information with ICE.”

Many county departments utilize services like LexisNexis and APPRISS for various court-related products. These companies may take county data, add state and private information, and sell that packaged data to a variety of third parties including ICE.?

“APPRISS signs contracts with various municipalities to provide real-time updates on victim services,” Aaron Lackowski from the group Empower LLC said.?“Cook County alone has paid $2.6 million over the last decade for this product,” said

APPRISS produces a platform called Justice Exchange as an add-on to a series of products sold by LexisNexis. Activists claim the system contains up to 10,000 sources of public and private data.?

“It is extremely likely that other country agencies are having their data sold to ICE unwittingly through this platform,” said Lackowski.

Anaya noted that ICE has spent money to buy reports, utility bills, social media profiles, addresses, phone numbers, and purchase history from similar companies.

LexisNexis currently accounts for 46 percent of all driver’s license data sales by the Illinois Secretary of State. “What these driver abstract data includes is the physical characteristics, accident history, and type of license which is especially concerning,” said Lackowski.?

Illinois driver's licenses include a type of license for “temporary visitors” that is often utilized by undocumented immigrants. “This would allow ICE to create a target list of drivers in Cook County based on the type of license that they hold,” Lackowsk said.

County officials on attempts to lock down data

During Wednesday's meeting, representatives of the various branches of Cook County government and justice system detailed relationships they had with LexisNexis or APPRISS, as well as any other external data sharing agreements, and outlined their efforts to prevent such leaks.

Jason Hernandez, director of intergovernmental relations for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, acknowledged that the department does provide booking and release data to APPRISS.??

“We have compliance programs in place with all of our vendors to ensure there is no third-party sharing, where it gets complicated is where any data would get shared beyond the reach of any contractual agreements,” he said.

Representatives of the Cook County State Attorney’s and the Cook County Public Defender’s Offices said that any LexisNexis products they use are solely for search functions and that any public information they share is aggregated and anonymized.?

Cook County Chief Procurement Officer Raffi Sarrafian explained that all vendor contracts come with a boilerplate that requires the vendor’s data use to comply with all county ordinances, must not share county data without permission, and must not manipulate or alter any data without permission.?

Darice Goodwin, chief deputy clerk at the Circuit Court of Cook County, told commissioners that their office, when authorized, does share bulk data with various organizations, including APRISS and LexisNexis.?

“This data is aggregated, and it usually does not include identifiable data,” she said.?

Anaya asked Goodwin about the process for the sharing of criminal data. Goodwin clarified that most data is only accessible through the various terminals located at government buildings. The only time bulk identifiable data is shared is when Chief Judge Timothy Evans approves specific bulk drops. Generally that data is for journalism projects or researchers, but Goodwin clarified that it does include APPRISS.?

Still, the policies do not seem to be preventing county data from falling into the hands of data brokers, according to Michelle Garcia of the group Access Living.

“LexisNexus collected 43 pages about me, my acquaintances, and my family,” Garcia said. “It included my past and present addresses, mortgages, phone numbers, information on my acquaintances and how I am related to them, both past and present, directly and indirectly.”?

“If I was one of the millions of undocumented people in the US, ICE could find me within hours,” she added. “We are asking Cook County to investigate and stop sharing data with LexisNexus and in extension with ICE.”

Thursday’s meeting marked another move in the county to further defend data privacy following President Toni Preckwinkle’s surprise veto of a proposed ordinance to share COVID-19 positivity data with suburban police and fire agencies.

Related: Preckwinkle nixes address-sharing with historic veto, says ‘being disappointed wasn’t sufficient’?


Recent Headlines

Cook County Manufacturing Reinvented Program is underway
Thursday, October 06, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

Preckwinkle pitches no new taxes in the Cook County budget — but faces a big staffing crunch
Thursday, October 06, 2022
WBEZ News

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to unveil $8.75B proposed budget Thursday
Thursday, October 06, 2022
The Daily Line

Preckwinkle touts a Cook County budget with no new taxes — but recession worries and post-pandemic funding hits loom
Wednesday, October 05, 2022
Chicago Tribune

No tax hikes, lots of equity spending in new Preckwinkle budge
Wednesday, October 05, 2022
Crain's Chicago Business

Editorial: The Cook County Forest Preserve District wants a tax hike. Here’s why voters should say yes.
Tuesday, October 04, 2022
Chicago Tribune

System News: A newsletter from Cook County Health
Saturday, October 01, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

When Can I Visit The Chicago Botanic Garden For Free?
Saturday, October 01, 2022
NBC 5 Chicago

COVID-19 update as of Sept. 29: Evanston and Cook County rated ‘low’ risk
Saturday, October 01, 2022
Evanston RoundTable

3,000 acres will be added to forest preserve if Cook County voters OK tax hike, officials say
Friday, September 30, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County’s delayed tax bills creating home sale headaches
Friday, September 30, 2022
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Announces $71 Millon Source Grow Grant Program to Help Historically Excluded Small Businesses in Pandemic Recovery
Friday, September 30, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

What Would Ron Swanson Think? Nick Offerman Makes Pitch for Cook County Forest Preserve Tax Levy Hike
Thursday, September 29, 2022
WTTW News

Group brings details of Chicago's racist housing history to light
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County Board axes wheel tax. Drivers will start saving next summer
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
The Daily Line

A small amount of extra money will help the forest preserves bloom
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County forest preserves pitch a property tax hike to voters
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
WBEZ News

Enough with committees. Chief Judge Evans must take action to improve Cook County juvenile jail.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

You'll likely get your property tax bill this year—but only barely
Monday, September 26, 2022
Crain's Chicago Business

Cook County tax bills on pace to arrive ‘by end of 2022’
Monday, September 26, 2022
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP