Present-day procedures constitute a hybrid form of human and algorithmic decision-making, as is required by law. However, it is the promise of a border-crossing big data system that underpins the attempts to automate and enhance border control through the use of data-intensive technologies. National laws establish the different levels of screening that citizens and foreigners undergo in a variety of situations. Whilst these requirements used to be executed by means of human decisions, they are increasingly being mediated by technological solutions. This report is guided by the need to map the present procedures, to obtain a comprehensive picture of the potential uses and risks of the gathered data, and to understand how big data could contribute to algorithmic decision-making at the border.
This report is a contribution to the political debate and policy planning. On the one hand, it focuses on the changing practice and nature of borders due to the implementation of digital technologies, biometrics and automation, and reflects on the impact of these new borders’ morphologies on the mobility of individuals and their rights. It discusses the legal framework of the EU Smart Borders Initiative and provides a description of the role borders play in the configuration of our societies, and how technology and digital data are creating new ways to regulate and control circulation flows. It draws on law, anthropology, sociology and surveillance studies to lay out the relationships between borders, data, citizenship and fundamental rights and values.
It maps the data flows at border crossing points, showing how data processing extends identity authentication from the physical space of the border (and specifically airports) to the locations where pre- and post-screening procedures happen (from the embassy to the travel agent, the frequent-flyer program or the immigration authorities).