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COVID-19, Surveillance, and the Border Industrial Complex

Petra Molnar

27 Oct 2021

Technological experimentation at the border is being given free rein, knit together into what amounts to a tapestry of an increasingly powerful global border industrial complex. This experimentation legitimizes techno-solutionism at the expense of human rights and dignity and has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Powerful actors—often in the private sector—increasingly dictate what technology should be developed and deployed, while communities experiencing the sharp edges of this innovation—including refugees and others on the move—are consistently left out of the discussion. Unfortunately, despite the key State obligations reflected in the 14 Principles, rights abuses are rampant when it comes to COVID-19, surveillance, and border control. . . .

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Petra Molnar is a lawyer and researcher specializing in migration, technology, and human rights. She is the Associate Director of the Refugee Law Lab at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University. Molnar is currently working on a project studying the human rights impacts of AI and automated technologies on migration control. Molnar regularly shares her work domestically and internationally and also works on immigration detention, gender-based violence, and the politics of refugees, immigration, and international law.