In recent years, the European Union has been rapidly introducing new technologies into its border management processes, especially as it attempts to monitor and control movement before asylum-seekers and migrants reach its physical borders. New technologies are central to the EU’s efforts to surveil and control migration far beyond its physical borders. This includes the use of drone surveillance to facilitate interceptions and pushbacks of boats; computerized border guard avatars monitoring ‘micro-gestures’ to flag ‘high-risk’ passengers; and biometric scanning at the borders as well as in partner countries to identify and prevent certain individuals from traveling in the first place. This conversation will examine the human rights implications of the EU’s use of AI and other new technologies to shift its border control operations ever-further away from its territory and to screen for risk through prediction. What is the impact of these technologies on those seeking to move to the EU and their rights, and how might we enforce and invoke human rights when violations are geographically ‘outsourced’ in this way? As the EU is taking steps to regulate the use of AI within its borders, how might the important process of regulating the EU and its member states’ use of new technologies directed outside its borders be approached?
Speaker: Petra Molnar, Associate Director of the Refugee Law Lab and author of Technological Testing Grounds: Migration Management Experiments and Reflections from the Ground Up