Migrants test new surveillance schemes for Europe

And they do it for free! Aren’t they great?

This is a border wall, but it is not on the Texas-Messico border:

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This wall, along the Evros river that constitutes part of the Greek-Turkish border, is just the least technological part of a vast array of measures aimed at deterring migrants from crossing.

Before and after that actual wall, migrants face, and beta-test for our convenience, a new kind of european digital fortress.

Part of this testing is courtesy of the pandemics. The lockdowns of 2020 on one hand kept Europeans busy thinking only to their immediate surroundings. On the other, they greatly reduced illegal migration flows, but without entirely eliminating them. This fact, that is having to handle illegal migrants but not too many, while everybody was looking elsewhere, turned out to be a “wonderful opportunity to test a vast array of physical and experimental new digital barriers”.

These “barriers” (note the quotes) include, but are not limited to (read the full articles for more):

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  • “sound cannons” that fire bursts of noise as loud as jet engines
  • observation towers filled with night vision cameras and other sensors
  • data will be sent to control centers to flag suspicious movement using artificial intelligence analysis.
  • AI-powered lie detectors and virtual border-guard interview bots
  • biometric identification devices
  • “live camera reconstruction technology” that exposes people hiding behind trees

Besides blocking migrants in very cool-looking ways, this activity has had two effects: move lots of money (3 billion euros from EU since 2015-16) around EU universities and private firms, and, as already said, beta-test technologies for future, much more “general” uses:

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_““What we are seeing at the borders, and in treating foreign nationals generally, is that it’s often a testing field for technologies that are later used on Europeans as well. And that’s why everybody should care, in their own self-interest…" (continues here, including some solutions and countermeasures).