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The HIP Research Officer talks to Business Daily on the BBC World Service

Today, Business Daily on the BBC World Service focused on ‘The Technology of Refugees’ and particularly their use of mobile phones. They spoke to the RSC’s Louise Bloom, Research Officer with the Humanitarian Innovation Project. She spoke of the value of both phones and the internet to refugees:

“Connecting to back home, being in touch with your family, sending money, sending information… those flows of information and communication and news are very important, and probably of heightened importance…for forced migrants. We met lots of refugees or asylum-seekers in Australia recently in some research, and people talked a lot about how they didn’t really appreciate having a label of being ‘an asylum-seeker’ or being ‘a refugee’, and that created often stigma and discrimination in their new country, and so this online identity…was some form of escapism. They were able to not be that ‘refugee’ with a label above their head.”

The programme also covered the use of biometric data, including the often unequal relationship between the refugees who give the data and the government bodies that collect it. Louise commented:

“Researchers…found some negative implications for ICT, for example ICT being used to control or for surveillance of a population, and...some refugees, for example in Australia, who have been asked for biometrics and to record their data and their identities, have actually feared it and then lost trust in the systems that are in place to try and help them.”

Listen to the interview here >> [from 4'58'']

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