Immigration, Data and Technology newsletter

Welcome to the third edition of Immigration, Data and Technology! We hope you’re enjoying the warm and sunny weather. This month we wrote a joint letter to the Head of the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) to request that the deadline to respond to the NFI Data Matching Powers consultation be further extended. Last week, we were informed that our request had been granted. A number of you added your signature to our letter. Thank you for your support! We’re now working on our response to the consultation and hope to collaborate with you on it.

We finally received a response from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to the open letter we sent expressing our concerns about the impact the National Data Strategy is likely to have on migrants.

We’ve also been busy supporting several of you with data and privacy concerns that have arisen in your work.

National Fraud Initiative Data Matching Powers consultation

We’re pleased that the NFI have extended the deadline to respond to the NFI Data Matching Powers consultation. We’re now focusing on working with migrants’ rights organisations on our response to the consultation. We’ve written a short blog explaining what the National Fraud Initiative is and our concerns about how the proposed measures are likely to disproportionately affect the data protection rights of migrants. If you would like to connect with us on this piece of work, please send an email to:

National Data Strategy

In the response to our open letter expressing concerns about the National Data Strategy, DCMS shared that a number of respondents had stressed the importance of ensuring that the National Data Strategy works for all members of society. The Government is ‘working closely with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to further explore ways of building public trust in data use and managing the challenge of bias in data-driven decisions.’ The Government’s response to the National Data Strategy consultation will be published in due course. It will ‘provide further detail on the action Government is taking to build trust in data use, and to ensure that everyone, everywhere can participate in a data-driven UK economy.’ Nevertheless, we remain worried that the Government intends to water down key data protection rights through this strategy.

Other news

This month we were invited by the Migrants’ Rights Network to their London network meeting where we spoke and shared more about our work including campaigns and how to support them.

We recently connected with the Racial Justice Network (RJN). We’ve been learning about the Stop the Scan campaign to stop the UK police scanning biometrics for Home Office border enforcement. We were invited by RJN to contribute to their meeting with the Police Crime Commissioner and West Yorkshire Police on this issue.

Tools, Publications and Resources

We’ve compiled some resources to help those working for migrants’ rights and their clients better understand data, privacy and technology issues. Some of these have been created by ORG, some by other privacy rights organisations and others in collaboration with migrants’ rights organisations.

openDemocracy and Foxglove | We’ve won our lawsuit over Matt Hancock’s £23m NHS data deal with Palantir

Ada Lovelace Institute | The data divide: Public attitudes to tackling social and health inequalities in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

The Racial Justice Network | Public’s Perception on the Biometric Services Gateway (Mobile Fingerprint App) 

Migrants’ Rights Network | Know Your Rights Guide 2020

Open Rights Group | Immigration, Data and Technology: Needs and Capacities of the Immigration Sector

Thanks for reading! And please do share with others who may want to know more about the impact of data and technology on migrants’ rights.

We hope you have a restful Easter break!

Get the latest

Recieve this newsletter directly in your inbox every month.