Welcome! This month we’ve been busy working on our response to the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) Data Matching Powers consultation proposals. Earlier this week we participated in workshops at the European Digital Rights (EDRi) General Assembly 2021 where we contributed to discussions on and learned more about digital rights, power and marginalisation and Europe’s giant biometric databases. EDRi is an association of civil and human rights organisations from across Europe working to defend our rights and freedoms in the digital environment. 

Our campaign to remove the immigration exemption from the Data Protection Bill continues. Together with the3million we are engaging in advocacy with the European Parliament and recently met with MEPs Sophia in ‘t Veld and Moritz Korner and the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants. We continue to meet with those working for migrants’ rights to learn more about the work they do and how we can work together to address data protection, privacy and new technologies issues that arise in your work. This month we met with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration and Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research (RAPAR).

National Fraud Initiative Data Matching Powers consultation

This month we’ve been raising awareness of our concerns with the NFI Data Matching Powers consultation proposals. It’s been a couple of months now since data protection expert Chris Pounder raised the alarm regarding the Government’s proposals to extend data matching from its current anti-fraud base to include any other criminal activity, debt recovering and data quality. He suspects that data matching for immigration purposes is on the cards – identifying those migrants who cannot work in the UK. The proposals set out in the NFI consultation document seek to dramatically extend data matching powers. This is deeply concerning. 

Many people are aware that the UK Government is trying to give the police more powers through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021. What is perhaps lesser known is that the Government is trying to do the same through the NFI data matching powers consultation proposals. We’ve published a blog explaining this in more detail and this week launched our campaign Don’t let the Government create a digital police state.

We believe that the proposals should concern anyone worried about due process and potentially excessive police powers. We are urging the whole of civil society and not just migrants’ rights groups to respond to the consultation and encourage their members to write to their MP using our recent briefing to help craft their message.

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.

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

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

WIRED UK | Asecretive Home Office unit has hoarded data on millions of people 

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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