Drones for border control: a symptom of the security mindset, says new report

The increasing use of drones for border control purposes "is a symptom of viewing borders predominantly in terms of ‘security’ and perceiving people crossing borders as a security threat," says a new report from Drone Wars UK. In this security paradigm, "border control operations are heavily influenced by the military and driven by ‘national security’ considerations rather than human needs," warn the authors.


The report highlights five "particular risks resulting from the use of drones in border areas":

  • The risk that drones will increasingly be used for surveillance of the wider population – not just those involved in criminal activities at borders – at ‘upstream’ internal border locations, and not just the geographically-defined border itself.
  • The risk that the use of drones, as a primarily military technology, in border control will contribute to the dehumanisation of those attempting to cross borders and increase the potential for human rights abuses.
  • The risk that states will use drones, as opposed to crewed aircraft and assets, to evade their humanitarian responsibilities to those in distress.
  • The risk that information from unrelated surveillance activities (for example shipping control or traffic monitoring) is passed on to border control and other law enforcement agencies for inclusion into a broader ‘intelligence picture’.
  • The risk that, if drones are deployed in a zone where there are border tensions between two nations, there will be a blurring between military and policing roles and a temptation to use drones in spying or intrusion missions which may escalate tensions.

Full report and summary available here: Crossing a Line: How the use of drones to secure borders threatens everyone’s rights (Drone Wars UK, link)

 

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