BAMF’s algorithmic methods for assessing asylum applicants

Germany’s BAMF (Federal Office for Immigration and Refugee) decides which of the millions of migrants who arrive in Germany will be permitted to stay. Because all asylum applicants are interviewed by the agency, the German government has called for systemic improvements to make sure that the process is both efficient and compassionate. In response to a massive outcry from German nationalists, the government has also cracked down on fraud, training government employees as human lie detectors. At the same time, at the tech lab inside BAMF’s headquarters in Nuremberg, engineers have developed new techniques for assessing asylum applicants, like facial recognition and native-language identification software (Wood, 2018).

It’s impossible to know whether BAMF’s new techniques and procedures have yielded accurate results: after cases are adjudicated, false claimants don’t usually report themselves to the government.  However, BAMF remains confident that its new methods have improved the accuracy of its decisions (Wood, 2018).