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Europe’s New Digital Borders: Technology, the Tools of Government and Immigration Control

461
James Hampshire
University of Sussex
Dennis Broeders
Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Christina Boswell
University of Edinburgh

Abstract

Digital technologies are transforming the way the EU, member state governments, and third countries manage immigration. Once a low-tech backwater, the administration of immigration and border controls is now a high-tech vanguard area. Digitalization is taking place across a range of sites and at a number of different levels, as European states shift their border controls ‘up, down and out’. At the EU level, the Schengen free movement zone and the Dublin system rely upon pan-European databases, such as the Schengen Information System and Eurodac, while a third major database, the Visa Information System is forthcoming. The Commission has made a number of further proposals in its 2008 ‘Border Package’. At the national level, ports of entry, especially those at external air, land or sea borders, have become increasingly technology-rich environments. Immigration officials routinely cross-check passengers against national and European databases and utilise biometric verification, and at several major airports biometric automated entry gates have been introduced. Along the EU’s land and sea borders, there is substantial investment in surveillance technologies and in third countries digital technologies play an important role in so-called ‘remote controls’, for example through biometric visas and Advanced Passenger Information. Governments also use technologies for the digital surveillance of irregular migrants within their territories, especially at their institutional borders of work and welfare. This panel invites papers on these diverse aspects of the uses of technology for the regulation and management of migration, at, beyond and within Europe’s territorial borders. The overall aim of the panel is to examine how, why, and with what effects Europe’s borders are being digitalised. Papers that analyse the drivers or the impacts of digitalisation on states’ capacity to regulate migration are especially welcome.

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