Newsletter: Immigration, Data and Technology

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

A win for Open Rights Group and the3million this week but most importantly for migrants! We’re really pleased to share with you the good news that we were successful in our appeal against the immigration exemption judgment. The Court of Appeal unanimously found the UK immigration exemption (which removes key data protection rights from all UK residents, including British citizens) to be unlawful and excessive. We have not yet been granted any relief meaning that now the immigration exemption has been found to be unlawful, should its application cease or should it be interpreted in a different way.  We are currently in conversation with our lawyers Leigh Day regarding next steps including whether the Government is likely to appeal but we want to thank you for your support. 

National Fraud Initiative (NFI) Data Matching Powers consultation

Our response to the NFI Data Matching Powers consultation was submitted on 5 May. At the end of last month, myself and ORG’s Legal and Policy Officer held a briefing event for migrants’ rights groups to help them better understand the likely impact of the proposals on migrants and to think about how they might challenge the proposals. We shared our submission with a couple of you who following the event were keen to respond to the consultation. We were pleased to see that Migrants’ Rights Network and Refugee Action Participatory Research responded to the consultation. We are now concentrating our efforts on parliamentary advocacy. 

We need to contact and meet with MPs to ensure that there is political pressure to introduce restraints and safeguards, or drop the proposal. If you work closely with any MPs that would be interested, please get in touch to arrange an in person briefing.

Get Involved

At the end of last month, we launched our campaign Don’t Let the Government Create a Digital Police State and encourage you to get involved.

After the Cabinet Office proposed a dramatic expansion of Police data-matching powers via the National Fraud Initiative (NFI), ORG supporters responded with a clear message: Stop the Digital Police State!

Now that the public consultation is over, it is clear that this dramatic expansion of Police powers without any checks and balances must be scrapped.

Write to your MP to ask Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office Minister, to scrap proposals for creating a Digital Police State.

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.

The Guardian | EU citizens win right to access personal data held by Home Office

Migrants’ Rights Network | National Fraud Initiative Consultation

Open Rights Group | Briefing on the National Fraud Initiative Data Matching Powers Consultation Proposals

Privacy International | Resisting profiling: our response to the National Fraud Initiative Consultation

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 restful Bank Holiday weekend!

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