Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: Border Management and Human Rights

A new policy briefing by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) looks at the collection, processing and sharing of personal data and the use of new technologies in the counter-terrorism and freedom of movement context.


Statewatch participated in a roundtable meeting that was used to inform the policy briefing. The text below is the introduction.

Policy Brief: Border Management and Human Rights: Collection, processing and sharing of personal data and the use of new technologies in the counter-terrorism and freedom of movement context (October 2021, pdf)

Introduction

In a globalized world, more and more people cross international borders to develop and maintain personal
contacts, pursue educational and professional opportunities, to migrate or to realize the right to seek asylum
when fleeing from persecution.

At the same time, new technologies, which rely on the gathering, processing, and sharing of data, are increasingly used by states to manage migration flows and to address transnational security threats, including terrorism. These technologies heighten the risk of human rights breaches in an area that is already highly opaque and discretionary, with weak safeguards, accountability and oversight, and where the private sector plays a strong role in their development and use.

This policy brief, therefore, provides an overview of the implications of collecting and sharing information in the context of border management and how the introduction or continued use of new technologies in the border space may affect human rights. It also provides recommendations to OSCE participating States on how to respect and protect human rights when using new technologies to manage their borders. The policy brief has been prepared as part of the ongoing work of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in the field of migration, freedom of movement, human rights and counter-terrorism. More specifically, it is based on analysis from a series of online expert consultation meetings on new technologies in the context of border management and their impact on human rights, organized by ODIHR in June 2020, following a preliminary assessment that the increase in the use of new technologies for border management deserved attention, particularly considering potential human rights concerns.

This policy brief references various digital technologies used in migration management and counterterrorism, referring to passenger and biometric data collection, algorithmic decision-making, and artificial intelligence-based technologies as the innovations that are currently being developed and deployed for border and migration management, and to counter transnational organized crime and terrorism.

 

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