Immigration, Data & Technology Newsletter

Welcome to the July edition of Immigration, Data and Technology! 

We hope you’ve been keeping well and that you’re enjoying the sunshine!

We’ve had a busy month! Since our last newsletter Mariano (Open Rights Group’s (ORG) Legal and Policy Officer) and delivered a session in which we to spoke to both migrants and migrants’ rights groups and organisations about their digital rights and what to do if these are challenged. 

We were invited to participate in an event organised by Security Flows and Kings College London about datafication technologies, counter-power and resistance at EU borders. This opportunity allowed us to learn more about how data and digital technology is transforming borders and migration governance and share the work we are doing to address the challenges and threats posed to migrants by data-sharing and digital technology. 

Last week, we attended and participated in the first Advisory Board meeting of the Ada Lovelace Institute and Health Foundation partnership project looking at data-driven systems and health and social inequalities in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. In this role, we’ll be drawing attention to how we ensure our digital rights are protected including privacy particularly the rights of those who are maginalised and in vulnerable situations. 

Lastly, as mentioned in our June newsletter we are undertaking parliamentary advocacy. This week we met with Stephen Timms MP about our work to challenge the Cabinet Office’s National Fraud Initiative Data Matching Powers proposals and the Government’s wider ambition to increase data collection and sharing of personal data and how this is likely to impact migrants. We’ll be continuing our parliamentary advocacy when Parliament returns after the summer. 

Online Best Practice Guide

We are continuing our work to create an online best practice guide for migrants’ rights groups and organisations. This will be published in the Autumn and will be followed by an event. We intend to bring together those working on digital rights and migrants’ rights groups and organisations to learn more about the ways in which data-sharing and new and emerging technologies are being used for immigration control and how migrants’ rights groups and organisations can practically address the challenges and threats this presents.

Our online best practice guide will provide migrants’ rights groups and organisations with practical information and advice on the use and impact of digital technology, data, privacy and new technologies for immigration control so that they can better advocate for the digital rights of migrants.

Please do get in touch with me at if you have any questions and/ or there’s anything specific that you’d like to see included in the guide.

Get Involved

We are part of a group led by Privacy International (PI) including Liberty, Defend Digital Me and Big Brother Watch that is challenging the College of Policing’s desire for Live facial recognition technology consultation (LFRT) to be used in public spaces.

We believe that LFRT poses significant and unmitigable risks to society and can never be safely deployed in public spaces. We’ve written an open letter to Parliament expressing our concerns specifically the lack of a clear legal and ethical framework and also the lack of parliamentary scrutiny. If your group/ organisation would like to add their signature, you can do so here.

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.

Privacy International | PI and allies respond to College of Policing consultation, stating that live facial recognition tech can never be safely deployed in public spaces

Open Rights Group | Is Government preparing to censor discussions about migration?

The Guardian | Home Office condemned for forcing migrants on bail to wear GPS tags

Free Movement | New data matching powers are a threat to migrant communities

Open Rights Group | Open Rights Group: Response to the consultation on the National Fraud Initiative Data Matching Powers proposals

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 an enjoyable summer!

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