Invisible Borders

Migrants identified by IOM after being deported from Algeria. Voluntary return is proposed.
Agadez, Niger, 2018

From the investigative teamWhat does a lie detector system being tested at the Serbian-Hungarian border have in common with a high-tech facial recognition machine in the desert in Niger and electoral cards bearing a QR code in Mali? They all stem from a huge European Union investment in the use of biometric authentication (fingerprints and facial recognition technologies) for border control purposes.

The team behind the Invisible Borders project has investigated the process that led to the adoption of biometric technologies in African countries with low levels of electrification, as well as the process behind the regulation proposal on the “interoperability” of databases of third-country nationals in the EU. In both cases, these processes were advanced despite the lack of data on the benefits for citizens and the scepticism of experts and law enforcement regarding increased security.

The interoperability regulation proposal, which is expected to cost EU taxpayers billions of euro and “in case of a cyber attack would endanger a potentially very high number of people” according to the European Data Protection Supervisor, is expected to be approved in the beginning of 2019, without any debate among the European public.

 

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The information on this page is supplied by the investigative team. The IJ4EU fund partners are not involved in the editorial process of any funded project.