We consider the research results of the fieldwork of WP4 “Border crossings” presented in this report as a contribution to the understanding of the digitisation of European border surveillance and control. Our case studies are focusing on Eurodac, a digitised European dactyloscopic system. Eurodac is an information, communication and control technology that operates by means of a Europe-wide database, in which the fingerprints of asylum seekers and irregular migrants are stored. Eurodac operates as a so-called “Automated Fingerprint Identification System” (AFIS) and is functioning in areas where the rules of the Dublin II regulation are applicable. It was designed in response to the crisis of the European asylum system, which was constructed and conceptualised in rather lax and crude terms as a crisis of “refugees in orbit” and “asylum shopping”. The Dublin II regulation is based on the “polluter-pays” principle, which is premised upon the idea that the Member State which has “caused” the entry of an asylum applicant (for instance by granting a visa or by lack of efficient border security and/or control) should be responsible for the asylum procedure. By using the Eurodac database to identify a single responsible Member State per asylum application, Dublin II regulates the mobility of non-EU-citizens without a valid visa within the EU.
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The aim of our research will be to:
- To undertake innovative research on transnational digital networks in relation to a) migrant mobility and, b) EU policies of border security, migration and asylum. Research will not only consider the level of information sharing amongst migrants, but it will also focus on the actual digital organisation of transnational border-crossing movements. Digital and migrant organising of border crossings will be contrasted to the actual EU policies.
- To identify whether within these networks, gender constitutes a significant factor regarding participation in information exchange as well actual migrant and refugee movements.
- To explore the intersections between official policies on border security, migration, and asylum and effective practices and modalities through which border crossing and asylum seeking is enacted through research conducted off and on-line.