Migration and borders

17 Jun 2020
By the end of March 2021 Eurostar will roll out a facial verification system in which passengers will send a scan of their passport and a selfie so that when boarding they can prove their identity by walking through a camera-lined “biometric” corridor instead of presenting their documents. The
19 Mar 2020
The Mumbai police have been asked by the civic governing body to track the movements of people arriving at Mumbai airport through the GPS location of their phones. Arrivals at the airport in Mumbai are also being stamped with “Proud to protect Mumbaikars. Home quarantined” with the date until which
14 Mar 2020
On March 14 a group of immigrant advocacy groups wrote to the government asking for the Home Office to release all 1,500 to 2,000 detainees in order to protect them from a coronavirus outbreak in the UK's seven removal centres and two short-term holding centres.. On March 21, the Home Office said it
In December 2018, Florida citizen Peter Sean Brown filed a federal lawsuit against the Monroe County Sheriff's offices for arresting and detaining him for three weeks claiming he was an illegal alien from Jamaica. Even though Brown offered to show the sheriff his birth certificate and explained he
In December 2018, in the wake of the Windrush scandal, the National Police Council, which represents police chiefs across England and Wales agreed to cease passing on to deportation authorities information about people suspected of being in the country illegally. The measures also ban officers from
In a report released in December 2018, the UK's National Audit Office examined the management of information and immigrant casework at the Home Office that led to the refusal of services, detention, and removal of Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK and were granted indefinite leave to remain
In November 2018 reports emerged that immigrants heading north from Central America to the US border are more and more often ensuring they are accompanied by children because "family units" are known to be less likely to be deported, at least temporarily, and smugglers charge less than half as much
16 Nov 2017
In 2017, US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would seek to use artificial intelligence to automatically evaluate the probability of a prospective immigrant “becoming a positively contributing member of society.” In a letter to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary
09 Jan 2019
The US government created a database of more than 50 journalists and immigrant rights advocates, many of whom were American citizens, associated with the journey of migrants travelling from Central America to the Mexico-US border in late 2018. Officials from Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
29 Apr 2019
A private intelligence company, LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, used social media to monitor more than 600 “Family Separation Day Protests” held across the United States on June 30, 2018, to oppose the Trump administration’s policy family separation policy. The policy was part of a “zero tolerance”
06 May 2019
Absher, an online platform and mobile phone app created by the Saudi Arabian government, can allow men to restrict women’s ability to travel, live in Saudi Arabia, or access government services. This app, which is available in the Google and Apple app stores, supports and enables the discriminatory
News & Analysis
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency at the centre of carrying out President Trump’s “zero tolerance” approach to immigration enforcement and family separation, has for years been contracting a US surveillance company to intercept peoples’ communications across the United States
Long Read
Cellebrite, a surveillance firm marketing itself as the “global leader in digital intelligence”, is marketing its digital extraction devices at a new target: authorities interrogating people seeking asylum. Israel-based Cellebrite, a subsidiary of Japan’s Sun Corporation, markets forensic tools
24 Jul 2018
In 2018, 17 US states and the District of Columbia filed suit to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Emails released as part of the lawsuit show that the administration began pushing to add the question as early as the beginning of 2017, claiming it was to improve
13 Oct 2018
In the months leading up to the US 2018 midterm elections, Republican officials in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina made moves they described as ensuring voting integrity but which critics saw as blocking voter access. In Georgia, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp is charged with enforcing
12 Jul 2018
In 2018, British immigration officers demanded that the mothers of two children provide DNA samples in order to provide proof of paternity. The children both had British fathers and had previously been issued British passports, but their mothers were not UK citizens. In one case, the father had
21 Sep 2018
In September 2018 the UK's Information Commissioner found that it was likely that during 2017 a number of migrant rough sleepers were reported to the Home Office enforcement teams by the homelessness charity St. Mungo's. The finding followed a complaint from the Public Interest Law Unit. The charity
24 Jun 2018
During 2018, when US president Donald Trump operated a policy under which immigration officers separated families arriving at the border without documentation, there were a number of suggestions for using genetic testing to verify family relationships in the interests of reuniting them. After
20 Apr 2018
In April 2018, the Austrian cabinet agreed on legislation that required asylum seekers would be forced to hand over their mobile devices to allow authorities to check their identities and origins. If they have been found to have entered another EU country first, under the Dublin regulation, they can
17 May 2018
In May 2018, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement abandoned the development of machine learning software intended to mine Facebook, Twitter, and the open Internet to identify terrorists. The software, announced in the summer of 2017, had been a key element of president Donald Trump's "extreme
01 Aug 2018
By August 2018, the UK government's "hostile environment" policy, as set out in the 2014 and 2016 Immigration Acts and other measures, was extending the national border into the heart of services such as banking, education, health, and housing where landlords and staff have been forced to implement
30 Sep 2018
In September 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security proposed to add credit scores and histories to the list of information immigrants are required to submit when applying for legal resident status. The stated purpose of the proposed rule is to bar those who might become a "public charge" from
27 Sep 2018
Canada began experiments introducing automated decision-making algorithms into its immigration systems to support evaluation of some of the country's immigrant and visitor applications in 2014. In a 2018 study, Citizen Lab and NewsDeeply found that AI's use was expanding despite concerns about bias
15 May 2018
In 2011, the US Department of Homeland Security funded research into a virtual border agent kiosk called AVATAR, for Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time, and tested it at the US-Mexico border on low-risk travellers who volunteered to participate. In the following years, the
31 Oct 2018
In 2018, the EU announced iBorderCtrl, a six-month pilot led by the Hungarian National Police to install an automated lie detection test at four border crossing points in Hungary, Latvia, and Greece. The system uses an animated AI border agent that records travellers' faces while asking questions
Designed for use by border guards, Unisys' LineSight software uses advanced data analytics and machine learning to help border guards decide whether to inspect travellers more closely before admitting them into their country. Unisys says the software assesses each traveller's risk beginning with the
Like other countries, the US began incorporating RFID chips into its passports in 2006. The chips, which store passport information including name, date of birth, passport number, photo, and biometric identifiers, enable machine-readable border controls like those now seen at an increasing number of
In a draft January 2018 report obtained by Foreign Policy and produced at the request of US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, the Department of Homeland Security called for continuous vetting of Sunni Muslim immigrants deemed to have "at-risk" profiles. Based on studying 25
In February 2018 the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed a contract with Vigilant Solutions, giving it access to the company's giant database of billions of license plate records, which can be searched to produce every place a given license plate has been seen in the last five years
12 Feb 2018
In February 2018 the Home Office gave the Yorkshire Police 250 scanners that use a smartphone app to run mobile fingerprint checks against the UK's criminal fingerprint and biometrics database (IDENT1) and the Immigration and Asylum Biometrics System (IABS). The app was simultaneously made available
Mothers of black, male teenagers in Chicago, fear their children will be added to the Chicago Police Department's gang database. As of the end of 2017, the database contains the names of 130,000 people, 90% of them black or Latino, who are suspected of being gang members. Most have never been