Closed for Migration, Open for Export


Borders, it seems, are becoming ever more of a priority to decision makers in Europe, while rights based approaches are fading more and more into the backround; both domestically in terms of strengthening “Fortress Europe” and overseas, sometimes through international aid. Regardless of how it is framed, surveillance technologies and increased data collection play a key part in this move, to the detriment of privacy, dignity and integrity of those affected by EU-refugee policy.


Over the last year, much attention has been given to Europe’s attempts to strengthen its own borders and on the question how to handle world’s biggest refugee crises since World War II; Although the root causes of flight and migration are diverse, the political responses most of the time contain the denial of legal principles, like human dignity.

If we look at the projects that international aid coming out of European countries is funding, it seems as though the mentality of strengthening borders and the limitation of migration, rather than tackling its root causes, is being exported to other, less developed countries. International development projects to provide “border security” support are happening all over the world in poorer countries, funded by governments of EU countries.

We'll take a closer look at the international development projects that have “strengthening borders” as their main goal to look at the way in which they are using surveillance technologies and handling data: for example, what kinds of data is being collected, where this data might be going, who it belongs to, and – most importantly – whether the privacy rights of people affected by this type of “aid” are being respected, or not. In other sectors, we've seen that there has been a trend of “testing” new technologies on people in less developed countries, before importing them back to Europe – is this also happening here?

More than 27,000 migrants have died on their way to Europe since 2000 – if this kind of injustice can happen in Europe, how are other border-strengthening policies being implemented in countries with weaker legislative environments and oversight? 

This session is hosted by Stiftung Neue Verantwortung