The Governance of AI-based Technologies in the Management of Migration
Funded by the John Fell Fund
The use of biometrics and automated decision-making technologies is on the rise in many sectors, including the ‘management of migration’. The existing research suggests that the deployment of these technologies has been opaque, with little knowledge about who has access to the data, with whom it is shared, and who is accountable for the wrongdoings of humans and automated decision-makers. The aim of this project is to understand the roles of the public sector, international organisations, such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and private tech companies in the use of AI-based technologies, during various processes of migration management, including registration of migrants and asylum seekers, access to asylum, distribution of humanitarian aid, and resettlement to third countries.
Specifically, the project explores how the use of new technologies challenges the principles of data protection and non-discrimination based on gender, nationality and ethnic backgrounds. Broadly, it investigates how cooperation and conflict between the public and private sector transform the state structure and the centralist management of migration. The project uses of qualitative methods, including desk-based research of existing legislation and online interviews with stakeholders that use personal information (including biometric information) and automated decision-making systems across the humanitarian field. The project focuses on Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan where some of these technologies were introduced at a large scale with the arrival of Syrian refugees.