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Want to sneak into U.S.? There's an app for that
Posted By Chelsea Schilling On 12/06/2009 @ 7:42 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Ricardo Dominguez with his Transborder Immigrant Tool (photo: CALIT2)
Illegal aliens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border now have a cell-phone tool to chart the best route, find food and locate people who will help them enter the country – courtesy of a professor at a state-funded university.
Ricardo Dominguez, a University of California, San Diego tenured visual arts professor and activist, designed the Transborder Immigrant Tool, an application much like a global-positioning system used in cars, to help illegals find the best locations for food, water and groups to assist them as they sneak into America.
Dominguez is also co-founder of the Electronic Disturbance Theater, or EDT, a group that developed virtual-sit-in technologies in 1998 in solidarity with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico. He also helped set up a website-jamming network called the FloodNet system to attack official sites of the U.S. Border Patrol, White House, G8, Mexican embassy and others.
“It allowed anyone with Internet access to overload the websites of several governmental entities,” he told Vice Magazine.
Dominguez said his research lab at the California Institute for Telecommunications & Information Technology, or CALIT2, on the UCSD campus is called BANG Lab, which stands for Bits, Atoms, Neurons and Genes. He said he’s been focusing on developing “border-disturbance technologies.”
To create the Transborder Immigrant Tool, Dominguez used a Motorola i455 cell phone, which includes a free GPS applet.
“We were able to crack it and create a simple compass-like navigation system,” he explained. “We were also able to add other information, like where to find water left by the Border Angels, where to find Quaker help centers that will wrap your feet, how far you are from the highway – things to make the application really benefit individuals who are crossing the border.”
Dominguez told the North County Times, “The primary goal of the tool is to offer those crossing a way not to die.”
But Jim Gilchrist, founder and president of the Minuteman Project, told WND the tool goes a step further.
“It helps illegals avoid all of the Border Patrol hot spots,” he said. “It helps them to illegally infiltrate the United States.”
Gilchrist said Dominguez is aiding and abetting people who break the law.
“What he’s doing is not developing something to put in a cell phone to summon 9-1-1 in case they’re stuck in the desert and in trouble and they need help,” he said. “He’s providing them a detailed, mapped pathway into the United States so illegals can bring in their drugs, anchor babies, illegal alien cargo, armaments and anyone who wants to come into the United States, regardless of our rule of law. That’s what this professor is doing. He should be indicted.”
He continued, “This is serious. What is next? Someone using that to get someone in the United States to kill a member of law enforcement or a bunch of kids at an elementary school in the name of some god or some culture from the anti-American mantra? Who knows what the consequences could be?”
Messages left with Dominguez had not been returned at the time of this report.
According to the BANG blog, the Transborder Immigrant Tool was the winner of “Transnational Communities Award” and was funded by CALIT2 and two awards from the UCSD Center for the Humanities.
Dominguez said he has plans to “interface with communities south of the border,” including nongovernmental organizations, churches and communities that deal with people who are preparing to illegally cross the border.
“How can we train them to use this? What is the proper methodology? Those are really going to be the most nuanced and difficult elements with, let’s call it, the sociological aspect of the project,” he said.
Jim Gilchrist, founder and president of the Minuteman Project, poses in front of Ronald Reagan sketch
Border Patrol spokesman Mark Endicott said smugglers have used GPS devices in the past, and the application won’t hinder law-enforcement efforts, the Associated Press reported. But Gilchrist disagrees with that assessment.
“Yes, it will,” he said. “It’s going to be another tool of encouragement to come to the United States. It’ll tell them this nation is no longer a nation of laws; it’s a nation of mob rule as far as our immigration laws are concerned. Just come on over, and we’re going to help you.”
Asked what other projects he is working on, Dominguez told Vice Magazine, “We’ve got a lab where we’re working with similar applications using nanotechnology and labs where we teach researchers about electronic civil disobedience and border-disturbance technologies.”
He said UCSD graduate students recently completed a project in which they installed a Skype system on a pay phone near the border in Tijuana, Mexico. The students direct illegals to the free pay phone when Homeland Security drops them off on the Mexico side of the border.
Also featured on the BANG lab website are Dominguez’s fellow UCSD researchers, Elle Mehrmand and Micha Cardenas. Cardenas is described as “a transgender artist” and lecturer in the visual arts department at UCSD. Mehrmand and Cardenas have participated in several demonstrations called “Technésexual” in Tijuana, San Francisco and Montreal where the two engage in erotic acts on a stage and use biometric sensor devices to amplify their heartbeats before a live audience.
As for the Transborder Immigrant Tool, Dominguez has said he hopes to make it available for free on the Internet.
Gilchrist questioned where Dominguez’s loyalties lie.
“What is a real American? Is it someone who hates America and encourages lawlessness? Is that an American?” he asked. “I don’t think he’s an American at all. I think he’s an anarchist.”
He added, “Instead of Dominguez saying, ‘You should not be breaking U.S. laws. I am an American. I respect the rule of law in my country, and I encourage you to stay in Mexico and Central America,’ he’s just saying, ‘Come on over. May the rule of law be damned.’”
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