I am one of the few people who was able to see inside the new camp during its official opening ceremony on Sept. 18, 2021 during an invited tour.
Once inside, you can see cameras, loudspeakers and various surveillance technologies peppered throughout the camp. It is the first in a series of five proposed refugee camps on the Aegean islands to be full of various surveillance technologies. It has been widely lauded as an “important milestone” in the management of migration by the EU’s Home Affairs.
This new “closed controlled access centre” boasts magnetic gates with kilometres of “double NATO-type security fence” and “smart software” using motion detection algorithms to notify the Local Event Centre and the Control Centre in Athens of any suspicious activity. Various drones and surveillance technologies are also used to monitor the waters of the Aegean Sea, assisting with the maritime interceptions.
This surveillance is entirely funded by the European Union.
The people I speak with are fearful of what is to come. Some call the new camps a “prison,” and they are worried about being far away from services and always watched. Others worry about further discrimination, or being reduced to fingerprints and eye-scans. While the conditions in many of the current camps are deplorable, securitization and surveillance only serve to further dehumanize people seeking protection.
A global appetite for securitization and surveillance
Greece reflects the growing global demand for securitization and surveillance.
Automated decision-making, biometrics and unpiloted drones are increasingly controlling migration as states turn to unregulated technological intervention, fuelled by lucrative and privatized border industrial complex.
Last week, UN Human Rights Chief Michele Bachelet called for a moratorium on high-risk technologies, including border surveillance, but the global migration management industry is not heeding the call.
Author(s): Petra Molinar
Publisher or Journal: The Conversation 27.09.21
Year of Publication: 2021
Document Type: Article