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In post-pandemic Europe, migrants will face digital fortress – Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, District of Columbia 2021-05-31 03:30:31 –

Peplos, Greece (AP) — Europe is sending a loud message to immigrants as the world begins its journey again.

Peplos, Greece (AP) — Europe is sending a loud message to immigrants as the world begins its journey again.

Greek border guards are firing deafening noises across the border from armored cars into Turkey. The long-range sound equipment, or “sound cannon,” mounted on a vehicle is the size of a small TV set, but comparable to the volume of a jet engine.

It has been installed and tested to prevent people from illegally entering the European Union at the 200 km (125 miles) Greek border with Turkey during the quiet months of the coronavirus pandemic. Part of a new physical and experimental digital barrier.

A new steel wall similar to the one recently built on the US-Mexico border blocks a commonly used intersection along the Maritsa River that separates the two countries.

The nearby watchtower is equipped with long-range cameras, night vision, and multiple sensors. The data is sent to the control center and uses artificial intelligence analysis to flag suspicious activity.

“We’ll have a clear’pre-border’statement of what’s happening,” Major Dimons Tennis Camargios, the head of the regional border security authorities, told The Associated Press. ..

Following the 2015-2016 refugee crisis, the EU has invested € 3 billion ($ 3.7 billion) in security technology research. ..

An automated surveillance network built on the Greek-Turkish border aims to detect immigrants early and prevent river crossings by patroling rivers and land using searchlights and long-range audio equipment. I will.

A key element of the network will be launched by the end of the year, Kamargios said. “Our job is to prevent migrants from entering the country illegally. To do so, we need the latest equipment and tools.”

Researchers at universities across Europe have worked with private sectors to develop futuristic monitoring and verification technologies and have tested more than 12 projects on the Greek border.

AI-powered lie detectors and virtual border guard interview bots are being piloted, and efforts are underway to integrate satellite data with images from land, air, sea, and underwater drones. A palm scanner records the unique vein pattern of a person’s hand and uses it as a biometric identifier, while manufacturers of live camera reconstruction technology virtually erase leaves to expose people hiding near border areas. I promise to let you.

Testing is also being conducted in Hungary, Latvia, and other parts of Eastern Europe.

More aggressive migrant strategies have been undertaken by European policymakers over the past five years to fund agreements with Mediterranean countries outside the EU to detain migrants and coordinate the EU border protection agency Frontex. Has transformed into full-fledged multilateral security. Power.

However, regional immigration agreements put the EU under political pressure from neighboring countries.

Earlier this month, thousands of migrants traveled from Morocco to Ceuta, a Spanish outpost, in one day, urging Spain to deploy troops. A similar crisis struck the Greek-Turkish border, lasting three weeks last year.

Greece is calling on the EU to have Frontex patrol outside its territorial waters to prevent migrants from entering Lesbos and other Greek islands. This is the most common illegal transit route in Europe in recent years.

Armed with new technology tools, European law enforcement officials are leaning further outside the border.

Not all surveillance programs tested will be included in the new detection system, but human rights groups say emerging technologies will make it even more difficult for refugees fleeing war and extreme difficulties to find safety.

German-born European Parliamentarian Patrick Breyer has called on EU research institutes to bring details of AI-powered lie detection programs to the public.

“What we see at the border is that when dealing with foreigners in general, they often become test sites for technologies that will later be used by Europeans. That’s why everyone is themselves. You have to be careful for your own benefit, “German Pirate Party Breyer told The Associated Press.

He urged authorities to consider ethical concerns and allow extensive oversight of border surveillance methods to prevent the sale of technology through private partners to authoritarian regimes outside the EU.

Ella Jakuboska of digital rights group EDRi argued that EU officials have adopted “techno-solutionism” to ignore moral considerations when dealing with the complex issue of immigration.

“It’s very annoying that EU money is being repeatedly poured into expensive technologies used in ways to criminalize, experiment and dehumanize people on the move,” she said. Was.

During the pandemic, migration flow slowed in many parts of Europe, interrupting long-recorded increases. In Greece, for example, arrivals fell from nearly 75,000 in 2019 to 15,700 in 2020, a 78% drop.

But the pressure will definitely come back. Between 2000 and 2020, the world’s immigrant population increased by more than 80% to 272 million, rapidly outpacing the growth of the international population, according to UN data.

In the Greek border village of Poros, a breakfast discussion at a cafe was about the recent crisis on the Spanish-Moroccan border.

Many homes in the area have been abandoned and are gradually collapsing, and life is adapting to that reality.

Cows use steel walls as a wind barrier to rest nearby.

Panagiotis Gionanis, a resident of Poros, says walls and other precautions have put a dead end on the passage of migrants.

“We are used to seeing them coming across villages in groups of 80 or 100,” he said. “We weren’t afraid … they don’t want to settle here. Everything that’s happening around us isn’t about us.”

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London Associated Press writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this report.

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Follow Gatopoulos on https://twitter.com/dgatopoulos and follow Kantouris on https://twitter.com/CostasKantouris.

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