CONTROL

The control of refugees by government institutions and agencies involves surveillance, the collection of biodata, internet censorship and online propaganda. All these interactions with cyberculture are made with the intention to control the voice and movement of refugees.

The proposals made by Frontex, EU Member States and private tech companies earlier this year displayed a pattern of developing tools to track and control the movement of refugees. It’s interesting that the ideas proposed to give refugees smartcard IDs and building on existing biometric data systems are already in practice with the UNHCR.

As stated in Control, the EU not only support the actions of the UNHCR, but also assist them financially. The UNHCR’s database, which holds the identities of millions of refugees, raises concerns over privacy and identity theft due to the interest of the EU in gaining access to the database and also due to the vulnerability any infiltration into the system would would place on the refugees registered.

Biometric data is especially sensitive, because unlike credit cards or even social security numbers, this information can’t be changed.

– S Larson, The Daily Dot, 2016

The practice of biometric systems on refugees also raises concerns over its involvement with humanitarian experimentation. As stated in Control, the UNHCR has been registering refugees through biometric systems since 2002. The use of new technologies for registration are initially piloted in humanitarian settings. The UNHCR portray their biometric data practices simultaneously as uncontroversial and experimental, but it is important to consider how the development of these new technologies “‘loops back’ upon society in ways that affect the constitution of social order and identity” (Jackobsen K,Experimentation in humanitarian locations: UNHCR and biometric registration of Afghan refugees, pp154, 2015). In the broader political context, humanitarian experimentation is practiced with the end goal of utilising biometric systems to strengthen homeland security. This undoubtedly raises the question: who is this security system designed to protect?

References:

Bohlin A. 2008. Protection at the cost of privacy? A study of the biometric registration of refugees, University of Lund, available at http://lup.lub.lu.se/luur/download?func=downloadFile&recordOId=1556387&fileOId=1563972

Favell A. 2015. Using biometric technology to register refugees, Computer Weekly, available at: http://www.computerweekly.com/photostory/4500254579/Aid-organisations-using-technology-to-help-Syrian-refugees-in-the-Middle-East/2/Using-biometric-technology-to-register-refugees

Ferris E. 2014. Why Humanitarians Should Pay Attention to Cybersecurity, Brookings, available at: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2014/06/02-cybersecurity-humanitarians-ferris

Graham-Harrison E & Taylor D. 2016. EU asks tech firms to pitch refugee-tracking systems, The Guardian, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/18/eu-asks-tech-firms-to-pitch-refugee-tracking-systems

Keane B. 2010. Australia says no to people-smuggling — via YouTube, Crikey, available at https://www.crikey.com.au/2010/06/11/australia-says-no-to-people-smuggling-via-youtube/

Hasham N. 2015. Internet ban to stop bullying, not free speech: Nauruan government, Sydney Morning Herald, available at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/internet-ban-to-stop-bullying-not-free-speech-nauruan-government-20151104-gkqggm.html

Jacobsen K. 2015. Experimentation in humanitarian locations: UNHCR and biometric registration of Afghan refugees, SAGE Journals, available at: http://sdi.sagepub.com/content/46/2/144.full

Larson S. 2016. Refugees rely on iris scans to receive food and aid, even as privacy concerns loom, The Daily Dot, available at http://www.dailydot.com/technology/biometric-data-refugees-jordan/

Laughland A. 2014. Angus Campbell warns asylum seekers not to travel to Australia by boat,The Guardian, available at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/11/angus-campbell-stars-in-videos-warning-asylum-seekers-not-to-travel-by-boat

Leivada D. 2016. Australia Wants To Scare Away Migrants With A Movie, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/australia-journey-movie_us_56f9924fe4b0a372181aa7e4?section=australia

Marin L, & Krajčíková K. 2016. Deploying Drones in Policing Southern European Borders: Constraints and Challenges for Data Protection and Human Rights, Drones & Unmanned Aerial Systems, available at: http://doc.utwente.nl/94391/1/11012015_LM.KK.Drones..pdf

Raines S. 2015. Nauru Facebook ban came ‘at request of Australian Government’, refugee advocates say, ABC News, available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-05/refugee-advocates-claim-nauru-facebook-ban-requested-australia/6444506

SBS2Australia. 2016. The refugee movie you paid for – The Feed, Youtube, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0G_712ylOg

Stares J. 2016. EU plans drone fleet to track migrants, Politico, available at http://www.politico.eu/article/european-union-fleet-of-drones-to-track-migrants-refugees/

Stupp C. 2016. EU maritime agency gets ready to use drones to monitor refugee boats, EurActiv.com, available at: https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-maritime-agency-gets-ready-to-use-drones-to-monitor-refugee-boats/

Soundtrack:

Rafi:ki. 2015. rafi:ki / mixtape 015 / instrumental hiphop / trip-hop, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0), Soundcloud, available at https://soundcloud.com/rafi-ki/rafiki-mixtape-015-instrumental-hiphop-triphop

Footage in order of appearance:

ABF TV. 2014. General Campbell’s message to people who travel illegally by boat to Australia – English, Youtube, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BypuBsE_Eq8

Ruptly TV. Greece: Drone captures refugee boat arriving on Lesbos, Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z82oZIoGNTE

IN THE NOW, Officials fear EU collapse, as hundreds of refugees flow from camps near Slovenian border, Youtube, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVb8b1BtUTY

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Jordan: Iris Scanning Program In Action, Youtube, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giVNT450Qss

Journey The Movie. 2016. سفر – نسخه فارسی فیلم (فیلم کامل), Youtube, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB2-t8FJA5A

Images in order of appearance:

Délmagyarország/Schmidt Andrea. 2015. Barrier in Hungarian-Serbian border, http://www.delmagyar.hu/szeged_hirek/ketfajta_ideiglenes_hatarzar_epul_a_szerb_hataron/2438738/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41777598  

Reuters. 2016. Migrants are inspected by policemen as they disembark from the Norwegian vessel Siem Pilot at Pozzallo’s harbour, Italy, March 29, 2016., available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-arrivals-rocket-in-italy-amid-warnings-turkey-deal-could-force-migrants-on-more-a6959491.html

Mavrou O. 2015. Athens, December 7, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency, Independent Balkan Newsagency, available at http://www.balkaneu.com/berlin-paris-autonomy-frontex/

Von Irish Defence Forces. 2015. Irish Navy rescues migrants within the Triton mission (June 2015), Wikimedia, https://www.flickr.com/photos/dfmagazine/18898637736/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41045858

Rockcohen. 2008. The flag of Europe, official flag of both the Council of Europe and the European Union. http://www.flickr.com/photos/robdeman/2390666040/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24261831

Euractiv.com with agencies. 2016. A registration sign at a hotspot. [Frontex], Euractiv, available at http://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/greece-will-process-asylum-claims-in-two-weeks-including-the-appeal/

[unknown]. 2016. Secure National ID Cards, Gemalto, available at http://www.gemalto.com/govt/identity

[unknown]. Phone with tracking app, available at http://www.toptrackingapps.com/how-to-choose-the-best-tracking-app/#more-3526

[unknown]. 2015. EU law requires asylum seekers to have their fingerprints registered on a central database, The Independent, available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-four-ways-european-countries-treat-asylum-seekers-like-convicted-criminals-10483185.html

Moore P. 2011. A newly arrived Somali woman has her finger scanned at a registration centre in Dagahaley refugee camp in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee complex on July 24, 2011 by the U.N., Know Terrorists, available at http://www.balkaneu.com/berlin-paris-autonomy-frontex/

McCullough D. 2013. Drone with Go Pro camera attached, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), Flickr, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/69214385@N04/8725078749

By Noborder Network [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons, available at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Migrant_hunting_EU_agency_-_Shut_Down_FRONTEX_Warsaw_2008.jpg

By Noborder Network (no borders no precarity  Uploaded by PanchoS) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons, available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:No_borders,_no_precarity_-_Shut_Down_FRONTEX_Warsaw_2008.jpg

Widak A. 2015. Refugees at Budapest Railway station check their phones Artur Widak/NurPhoto/REX, The Independent, available at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/surprised-that-syrian-refugees-have-smartphones-well-sorry-to-break-this-to-you-but-youre-an-idiot-10489719.html

Wylie A. 2013. Tent homes on Nauru., The Sydney Morning Herald, available at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/detention-centres-inhumane-un-20131126-2y8hk.html

Garrett J. 2015. Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (centre) meets with participants of the Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers meeting in Sydney., ABC News, available at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-10/pacific-islands-forum-foreign-ministers-meeting/6611006

CdaMVvWgS. 2005. Nauruan districts of Denigomodu and Nibok, Public Domain, Wikimedia, available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=228217

ABC. 2013. The Australian detention centre on Nauru., Radio Australian, available at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/onairhighlights/australian-politicians-visit-nauru-detention-centre/1237070

Free the Children NAURU, Children holding up signs in protest, Facebook, available at https://www.facebook.com/Free-the-Children-NAURU-839867502797443/photos

[Screenshot] notopeoplesmugging, Youtube, available at https://www.youtube.com/user/notopeoplesmuggling/videos

[Screenshot] ABF TV. Youtube, available at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPEIjaHkw0wXGDzK6EuC96g  

[Screenshot] Journeythemovie, Youtube, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB2-t8FJA5A

[Screenshot] @daringdanaerys. 2015. Warsan Shire poem extract, Twitter, available at https://twitter.com/daringdaenerys/status/640179238138679296

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About intersectionalalien

Hi hello people of earth/space/cyberspace, intersectional alien here. I’m still trying to figure out my place on this earth. I like intersectional feminism, feminism in popular culture, LGBTQ+, refugee rights, veganism, mental health, nihilism, travelling, unlearning institutional conditioning, good tunes and consuming and creating stories.
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