4 October 2023

Digital Technology Guru

Digital Technology Guru Reviews

The Impact of Digital Border Technologies on Human Rights

2 min read
The Impact of Digital Border Technologies on Human Rights

The UN Human Rights Office has released a report assessing the impact of digital border technologies on human rights. While acknowledging the benefits of these technologies in achieving security objectives, the report also highlights the potential risks and negative effects they have on human rights.

The use of digital technologies, such as video surveillance systems and surveillance towers, numerous states at land and sea borders, has been identified as a concern. These technologies may prevent border crossings, ultimately denying migrants and potential asylum seekers the support they need. For instance, migrants may avoid routes with surveillance systems due to fear of detection, exposing them to additional risks.

The report also raises concerns about the use of algorithmic risk assessments in deciding whether migrants should be detained. This approach, if not properly regulated, could lead to discrimination based on gender, race, or ethnicity. Human officers relying on algorithmic risk assessment findings may perpetuate biases, further exacerbating human rights issues.

Furthermore, surveillance technologies have been criticized for contributing to the stigmatization of migrants and limiting their freedom of movement. The UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families emphasizes the potential harm caused these technologies.

To address these concerns and mitigate the negative impact on human rights, the report recommends that states adopt a human rights-based approach to migration. It suggests that states conduct and publish human rights impact evaluations to ensure their proposed digital border technologies comply with human rights obligations. Additionally, states should refrain from employing technologies that are detrimental to the protection of human rights.

This report adds to previous expressions of concern from the UN regarding the use of digital technologies. Earlier this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in Counter-Terrorism warned that digital technologies aimed at tackling terrorism contribute to human rights violations globally. Similarly, the UN Human Rights Office highlighted the threats posed surveillance technologies employed in Southeast Asia, which have been subject to online abuse.

In conclusion, while digital border technologies may have security benefits, it is crucial to ensure that they do not infringe upon the rights of migrants and potential asylum seekers. Safeguarding human rights should be a priority when implementing such technologies.

Sources: UN Human Rights Office