Data or Razor Wire

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Data or Razor Wire
What controls Migrant Bodies?
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The construction of new wire fences in South-Eastern Europe has been one of the most dramatic scenes of the so-called migration crisis. Yet migrants who seek protection, but also regular travelers who need a visa for the EU, are mostly controlled by data transfers and databases than physical obstacles. These databases are also the foundation of the wider trend towards “smart borders” that affect all our travel movements and subjection to electronic surveillance.
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1 who know young woman whom the genes
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and very happy to welcome at Eduardo R. police scanner and
profitable beside both uh from the 8 overcoat university get deleted from the Center for Internet and human rights and their posing the question data razor wire what controls migrant bodies the no welcome everyone to this which actually is gonna go more as a conversation we are both that researchers at the Center for Internet human rights and now we're both academics and we against uh as stupid recommends we both a little neurotic and feel guilty as a Raphael is an expert on European security policy but that told only before to stock that he feels a little guilty that he doesn't do enough to further some causes and do more Evoca see me on the other hand I have done a lot of work with migrants in the US France and Poland and and also migrant politics is politics with my friends and but I feel that often times uh we pick the wrong causes and that we don't actually make good use of their academic evidence that there is out there to fight and some of the bigger
problems so a lot of the advocacy work is focused on the short term problems on alleviating suffering of the migrants of the plight of that we see on television and I and we come up with the short-term fixes and short-term solutions what we want at about today is the some of the more of a larger long-term systemic problems that are around 3 facing in in your every now and that potentially influence not only the refugees and but 1st of all of the non EU citizens that are traveling to Europe we can think about all the non EU citizens that are at
this conference that they were subject of where we're going to talk about and tension in the future maybe even all EU citizens so on so this redundant conversation and I guess the 1st question I would like to talk about and this is the famous World Press Photo that 1 this year and it shows this uh they brave the act of the and
crossing the border this is the Hungarian border of right before it was permanently sealed so this is the more temporary uh razor wire and then there was a is being replaced with the more permanent walls so the 1st question I have for a year is the title of the talk of the town of Darkness data or razor wire so you putting them somehow as
2 means that the EU is trying to used to build this but this often called but activists as a fortress Europe using that uh just doesn't mean that the borders that the physical borders are obsolete that they no longer matter so we always start of a punch line and so we lure you into the room with or question about the real answer is of
course it's neither were but it's and the whole point really is to understand how those both elements razor wire and data or data wire play together so yes I mean that's really what's mediatized John again rate attached to that and that's what people mostly so the focus on the 1st one and that's all I mean obviously things have changed in the last year quite dramatically so I mean just as the recall I do know sure this this kind of summary lifted straight from Wikipedia and what about the migration movements last year and that silent claims obviously see the famous sort of Balkan
route and go coming to Austria-Hungary Germany mostly and also from this material before and lo and behold in response to that of
course and you have this what this also very much mediatized the construction of new rule razor wire fences the 1 in Hungary which we saw the pictures off but he every the blue line is a new set of wire fence and here's the color jungle and then you have the red lines with increased police patrols I mean that's what people are talking about that is shame coming to an end is freedom of movement coming to an end and there is no shortage of dramatic pictures of course and this is also a hungry has is being constructed people bring in in these kind of common and you have of course all the can of scenes in even we may so yeah I mean there is razor wire fences are back and symbolic it's important and we can mean a lot to freedom of movement however it's also to say that of
course not all this in the ways is principally new so last year yeah it was a real new stage or a new dramatic element in the crisis but can of 2 if you wanna have too many defenses than you know for those of you working on migration in Europe this is more long-term infamous example of suited me yeah those 2 and place here at the top of the uh at the middle of africa which belong to Spain and because a lot a lot of migrants from
Africa trying to get in there and then claim asylum in Spanish territory while being
so Africa and that has led to this kind of all arms race that by now a triple fence with you know multiple obstacles in between I'll come back to that in a regular storming of this and people get copper and all that and if that fails of course I don't need to remind you that there is the other physical obstacle and bridge namely the Mediterranean and if people don't make it over the fence they go back to the boats and that's what people
discuss now that you know if we don't have the bulk of the work will have renewed activities from Libya and as of yet not being a
stable state nowadays is of course very difficult to control the situation there if you want to control that you know here's another symbolic picture as of last year by a pretty before the tragic Lampedusa disaster of 800 dead so whatever follows me the point here is not to kind of pile up once you're type of the media after the other 1 iconic picture of the other but we to underline that if we know in this following talk more about data and databases it's not to say that this doesn't matter of course this still dramatically virus and really this is where people risk their lives but but we also have to look beyond that and think that and something else and so you're right my my question is a paper let's put ourselves in issue over migrant saved from Afghanistan are
Iraq's procedure that did cross and let's say before the Balkan route was temporarily open because that's what we're really talking the last year and there was some really open and but before maybe came through Italy Greece or Bulgaria and we
know a lot of reports of people that have a travel thousand thousand kilometers and spend thousands of thousands of dollars and actually managed to cross the border managed to jump the fence cluster C but add to post where they were immediately arrested and detained after crossing the border and they said OK I want claim as island in European Union there were asked to provide the fingerprints and many many of them refused and what happened is that many of them our experience beatings from the uh side of police or a a border of and some there are even some of the reports of of that of other forms of physical violence or psychological violence so my question is why would somebody who's and put such a high price already to cross the fence
fight so hard and refused to give their fingerprints to the authorities will here it here's where the European system of asylum comes in and low to those of you who know instantly you just reversal dead just to get the basics out again of course there's something called Dublin enforced by now what's called the Dublin 3 regimes on a series iterations which is supposed to regulate the responsibility of 1 of
the European member states for asylum so 1 Member State should be responsible for 1 asylum claim rather than 1 asylum seeker could be placing asylum requests in different countries or the reverse no country in Europe would find itself responsible say it's not our business so Dublin supposedly regulates them and to make the system work to say which state is actually responsible for giving protection and to receiving and treating these lines that's where the kind registration and the data comes in and this is where we and this is why becomes so crucial where how and what means people are registered entered into databases and then she so to give you just as imagining there's 1 could go on long-term how Dublin works in detail but this is a recent flow chart comes at from the sort of
of comments indicated doesn't matter still gives kind of the European picture what is supposed to happen right now and in the kind of hot spots were know Europe tries to take on asylum-seekers coming from Turkey and then you see the come here and they're supposed to be registered and then after that registration a lot of stuff happened which Member State is responsible of the person gets refuses to be registered give maybe be attained force may be used they Porter right away or they may be deported up you know the 1 the Member States determine that they're not responsible and so on so forth so all that's sequence in on somewhere down here is we actually get protection almost that's crucially depend on registration processing of data sharing of data moving people between countries are based on this kind of stuff that I wanna know is it make you realize is that this part of the graph as this is the giving of the fingerprints what happens here is returned is
the is up if you refuse this is refuse the only option is to go to be sent back home and that all this complicated such as the schemas asylum procedure but let's not kid ourselves at the European Commissioner for migration of a Greek and uh Commissioner of said that fingerprinting procedures are important mainly for the return procedures and and not so much but he he was a good set and potentially for the asylum procedure so this is also an important thing to realize that right now a lot of these people were being fingerprinted as part of the asylum procedures but in a year or 2 re of 3 year times where their asylum claims are finally process the main goal of the thing about having his fingerprints in that the base is going to be to prevent them from applying for asylum McCain and facilitating their return to their home countries so so to add on listening depending where standard we come from uh and you know I'm always kind of the academic it also underlined that this and registration and this is just for assignment come to other aspects later has multiple purposes multiple reasons so depending on what you're interested in so what time frame you looking at of
course they also reasons for the protection I said like to determine the responsible member state or to really identify somebody many times people don't have documents and so on so that these systems can also be used for the purpose of protection and for example you would HER are also now starts using fingerprinting registration of a refugee camps in the Middle East but it can also be used for various other purposes such as then really been clear OK this person has to be reported this person has no right to be missed Member States and supposedly uhm so the speeding up as that of the administrative processes so it really all depends on how we use these systems and that's what we want also develop in other respects but this basically explains why you know even if you make all those traveling hazardous journeys the real business only starts there and this is why become such a crucial game but to you know we we be in
the title of the talk is migrants sold the only refugees are in asylum-seekers of course the most vulnerable and the ones that really deserve more support but to give you the bigger picture of course it's not the only issue we're talking about and it's not the only database you're talking about so what we mentioned so far was Eurodac which is where people
simply registering when they look for asylum with a personal data and the fingerprints and there's different categories of data and in your dark 84 the registered asylum-seekers but also for other people were apprehended crossing borders illegally and then subsequently that should help for those decisions that we just talk about but then there are 2 other centralized databases from the EU that
also important for migration and resident status the first one I is the
Shannon information system which is the oldest 1 been constructed since these by analysis information system to at the moment it's still not biometric is still only with data about persons and names and information about documents of vehicles calls are being searched but there soon it's already been planned for a long time it should also include biometric information namely fingerprints or photographs and in general it's a tool that you help police and
border cigars across Europe to identify people execute decisions like somebody has entry battle has a deportation order and they should be able to all right this is this person even if they moved to different European countries and on that basis I connection graph the person and put it on a plane and so in that sense you know depending on how we interpret it this is just as much as important for the chances of a person regular or irregular to stay
in the territory and make a life there and that for the year if you wanna put a positive spin on it some people say well the system can also be used to find missing persons who had news about love migrants that get lost in the registration process nobody knows where they are now and then you could enter this information in there and trying
trace them but so far that remains rather speculative and finally the was the big fish centralized databases that information system that is for all sorts of other categories of migrants but let's not forget that even for asylum-seekers or people in need of protection it might actually good rule if it was readily accessible to come with a normal visa of this is often discussed why don't we give humanitarian visas or other ways of legal access so that people don't have to take this hazardous during so if you want to apply for a visa the European Union now all this information is in this database and this database has grown over time in terms of the depth of data that's in there the range of authorities that can access to it so it's not just to give an example of the non EU speakers on in this database and as you say there's that about these a sponsor so there's in that database there's but in that that abuses that about this conference and everybody was sponsored somebody to come here so again that's supposed to help can only of finding the right
people and you know making a legitimate user but it's yeah I mean this kind of use of the state about sponsors police can only use it for trying to find a fake sponsors or they say all human traffickers you know again depending on your reading you can see this as a positive tool or as a tool to control people like you know for example had post who want to get people into the country and safer bases that crossing the wire fences and increasingly this is information system also includes all fingerprints this has been a roll out of the geography over time and now most countries that have a have to have a visa for the you also need to give their fingerprints so in that sense and just to give you administration how that she looks like this is not my
own slide comes from the World Economic Forum in the Boston Consulting Group so this is kind of also some business behind it you notice how it works you reduce the ventilation system the goal of the consulates as opposed to have the central database uh checksums information and but it also goes back not only to the immigration authorities like the border that action controls the when you enter the visa but it can also go to the law enforcement authorities or Europe or and so it's a multiple so the purpose sort of a
uh system that you know you can have different opinions about whether it's digital not to treat this information as also something for law-enforcement purposes but you know
what and throwing out kind of facts and I just wanna set out the sort of context now we talk about 3 databases so these information systems share information system Eurodac these are the 3 main centralized European databases but that's not all to it and I won't have time and it doesn't make sense not to run through all of them in detail but the European Union in general or general international security cooperation is based on information exchange there is really little there's no known European policemen or there's no European force that can doesn't do it directly with certain circumstances it really based on sharing and pooling information when they say they do something in this field and so this explains why you have an accumulation of different actors
and groups like about exchange you can do nowadays you can exchange criminal records you have to hold information files in Europe all you have pooled information about risks and from text you supposed to have an entry exit system now very soon so that means that not only get stabbed or register when you come into the European Union but also when you exit and so people would be tracked more clearly in the movements and diluted also should have assumed it's agreed on politically a system for registering plane flight data into and out of you with the US is already doing this for a long time we use following suit so all this kind of stuff together which you know I can have a to the question if you want to goes together this idea of interrelated border management integrated
intelligence-led policing and behind that there is still lot of you national databases again another layer of complexity we can't talk about now you have to recognize that every single Member State has a least 5 or 6 10 databases that do similar things and that connected with these systems in various different ways so when you come to that then you start realizing that you know it's not like big brother evil conspiracy but there is really a very complex very comprehensive infrastructure in place that's sort of tries to collect as much data what migrants asylum-seekers in other categories migrants and use it for multiple purposes and these multiple purposes can be having very important long-term
effects the last element in there is beyond that of individual data on persons and is the kind of general situational awareness where more geographical information comes in and maybe some of you heard of this idea what you or it still work in progress and that's not everything seamlessly integrated but the idea is now that you know OK we can build everywhere wire fence account of every word new
borders like in sort of uh as of this kind of enclaves in Spain so what we have to do is monitor the whole space of European borders namely the Mediterranean but also other spaces and we do this with satellites with
drones with other sorts of sensors and all that should be pooled and big kind of situation centers and more from text but also national border guards and so taken together you would have this individual data and the situational data off you know covering the borders and electron some sort of prominence surveillance state with various forms of censoring and that's where he not a modern contemporary border in European integrated border management would really look like yeah looks like a very scary picture to me
and that in and of mod activist circles there's often this almost dichotomy between people that say
um that there should be no borders and then and then the people in the EU that say that we
should put more and more resources to play create this and more complex assistance of controlling irregular migration but do we actually have any evidence that borders work Reno and if they can start to flow of what at least from the perspective of EU authorities is considered a regular and migration way out of this is this is still not only 1
million but would have model 1 billion EUR question or even more and this is where my academic side comes out so you know if you're if you see
this all as highly problematic and and we'll come to that also a bit later once again but the evidence to say that this is actually controlling migration is very hard to determine and and this is a number of reasons I mean there the reason is that you know we really on the 1 hand we have few sorry not skip a little bit the standard power point you know if you see this of course you realize that migration is still happening quite extensively and people are taking a
lot of risks to do that but beyond
this kind of willingness to take risks and go against this varies registration systems it's also very hard to know of course you know what is the real extent of people come illegally and then don't leave when they're supposed to be what is really the that of smuggling that we don't see even if we try to do all these things and these systems don't work all the time and build it yourself became the by all those nice PowerPoint slides and technological projects it's really not there in the sense that we have a 24 7 perfect my new resolution picture that is running all the time that's where 1 is going to but we're far from it and so in that sense we can't say
that you know all of that really stops vast amount of migrants the the volumes remain very high but the risks people are ready to take and the problems they encounter on this process nevertheless are raised and so in that sense you could say so this set against not it's completely blocking them off but is making the life a lot more difficult and if you wanna see it as a summary um again we have a
lot of time to talk about every single point here we could see this as a logical step you know what now the obstacles are even if people are still doing it it's not 1 borderline here but it's the borderlines before in the visa in the country of origin the kinds of transit and then the border zone after the
actual border then later controls they occur restoration and later when you move further so all of those steps are intervention points for those databases and those data-gathering exercises and so it becomes very hard to come from the stage where the dangers stranger and maybe you make it to the recognized migrant or asylum-seekers but where we are here you know as the privileged group of the trusted citizens and travellers going
around conferences as a very long way to go and so here we the question comes is that the areas of how we want to see things going I and if you want to have a creative of dystopian image again I said that Europe is not that far and a lot of work in progress so please sort of keep this is back in combined this is how you
could sort of think it is as a long-term project so it's as we said in the beginning it's not fences versus databases altogether so we have fences this is actually the fence in Spain to see before in the schematic form so it's 3 fences with with lots of sensors and create a of obstacles so complex sensors with sensors that you have so-called smart borders which are these automated control gates which maybe some of your increasingly encountering airports we have to register with with you know other forms of biometric information a lot of data when you give people can travel tickets so that's and then you have this kind of thing about sort of virtual borders as they're called in the US where you have
this kind of remote sensing sensor integration the US trying to do this also in Mexico and Arizona and so we have to think all this together as the long-term direction of where a lot of interest politically and also economically are and
this is what he was doing already and so if you fly to the US and you've had this kind of travel authorization but and then this is the internal
slides how you will be checked against various databases where you on the no-fly list on the fly this and so on so forth so yeah I mean they have the process and I'm not going to comment on it but and as a said europe is not quite that far but just to give you a perspective of where we might be going because we have time for last question and I
really wanna ask you something I think
every and activists would like to know is a great what do we do not to get there is uh should be resist this changes and if the it
is here's how the ears as no we use this kind of picture here
and it was a cheap shot admittedly and those of you German in the room maybe no this so the Centre for Political beauty and lady you're you're a half ago goal that
this could have stunt or access to action with a collectively moved to the Bulgarian border and with wire cutter like the still and trying to kind of you know that have no borders and let's get people come to Europe and yeah I mean I it's not like this is a bad thing and view it's also regional of at the attention but obviously when you see this bigger picture then just trying to
cut some wire like some wire fence in Bulgarian doesn't seem really to hit the market and and I I think that's not can be only 1 component if you are an activist for more open borders and so we need to think beyond that so how do we how do we stop this conversation every so every stock in this false dichotomy between the state security and on the right the human rights with using was so the fuckin reinvest this debate well
again and you know me as the academic I always to restrain myself a little saying it's all evil or it's all good they are as is indicated with
your dark some possible positive uses for you know registered people right treating the right treating them with dignity when their fingerprints are taken given them adequate protection and sometimes it can really help in Germany we have this debate about mistaken registration people don't get asylum claims in time they don't get the benefits and all that so yes this has to be cleaned up and this can help us at the same time we have to use so we can just categorically denounce all those systems but we have to be very careful
how they used for what purpose is it really just security purposes of economy using for or on also some other kind of administrative questions or you know dignity questions on economy will prioritize and here we get into details where the a lot of critical questions still needs to be done we're both involved in a project that know observes a bit of the background of the stock
and it's actually quite hard to find people who can comment on this in the detail level you know people have general views about asylum more general views about Dublin on things like that but to kind of when it comes to more specific issues about OK so how you treat people in this process how you know that the data is used for this purpose and not for that purpose How do you know the security services are doing it under the rules of the supposed to be doing and then there is a very very small percentage of actors that can actually credibly comment on this have something that that 1 of the biggest challenges for researchers
and and for advocacy group is to actually uh listening more carefully to the stories that migrants are areas are saying to reaching them and listening I think Saskia Sassen mention that in her talk that we could learn a lot about the reasons why people migrate and we could also learn a lot about what are the kind of mechanism that people that encourages discourage people from to migrate and if we actually reach and talk to them so I think that's a big challenge for all of us and have time for 1 question note
uh but well anyways I invite you to follow this debate because I think that's gonna be 1 of the most important things on their research agenda for next couple years and I thank you very much and if you have any questions Jonas afterward yeah
hand out and then you can look at the