19 November 2020
Three recent reports take a close look at the ways in which the increasing use of digital technologies in migration management and border control can compound existing forms of discrimination and inequality, at the same time as creating and contributing to new types of discrimination.
"The European Union is increasingly experimenting with high risk migration management technologies.
Much of this innovation occurs without adequate governance mechanisms and does not account for the very real impacts on people’s rights and lives.
A new report published by Mozilla fellow Petra Molnar for EDRi, “Technological Testing Grounds,” is based on over 40 conversations with refugees and people on the move and shows that much of this innovation occurs without adequate governance mechanisms and does not account for the very real impacts on people’s rights and lives."
Report: Technological Testing Grounds: Migration Management Experiments and Reflections from the Ground Up (EDRi, link to pdf)
The report comes at the same time as two publications by the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance that deal with similar issues.
The first provides a human rights analysis of intersectional forms of discrimination; the second focuses in more detail on how digital technologies can cause and reinforce those forms of discrimination.
Statewatch, along with Privacy International and R3D, submitted a contribution to the Special Rapporteur to inform the second report.
"In the present report, the Special Rapporteur aims to advance analogously robust analysis at the intersection of emerging digital technologies and racial equality and non-discrimination principles under international human rights law.
...In the present report, the Special Rapporteur highlights intersectional forms of discrimination, including on the basis of gender and religion, and calls attention to the ongoing failure of States and other stakeholders to track and address compounded forms of discrimination at the intersections among race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, sexual orientation and related grounds."
And: follow-up report (pdf), looking in more detail at the racially discriminatory impacts of new and emerging technologies on migrants, refugees and other non-citizens:
"As this report highlights, governments and non-state actors are developing and deploying emerging digital technologies in ways that are uniquely experimental, dangerous, and discriminatory in the border and immigration enforcement context. By so doing, they are subjecting refugees, migrants, stateless persons and others to human rights violations, and extracting large quantities of data from them on exploitative terms that strip these groups of fundamental human agency and dignity. Although the focus of this report is relatively recent technological innovations, many of these technologies have historical antecedents in colonial technologies of racialized governance, including through migration controls. Not only is technology not neutral, but its design and use typically reinforce dominant social, political and economic trends."
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