Infrastructuring data-publics: Implicated publics in transnational biometric databases used for crime and migration control
Nina Amelung, CECS, University of Minho, Portugal

We witness the growth of transnational biometric database systems which derive from attempts of surveilling populations in order to control crime and migration. This paper deals with the implications of growing database infrastructures – in particular their design and governance, but also their organic unfolding within environments – on understanding and regulating data-publics. How do we know about and understand data-publics constituted through transnational biometric surveillance technologies and what are limits of knowing? How do the IT governance systems and the organizational work design of database infrastructures play out on how data-subjects are entitled to and have access to exercise rights?

This paper focuses on two examples of transnational biometric database systems set up for criminal identification and migration control purposes in the European Union: the decentralized forensic DNA data exchange system regulated under the Prüm decisions and the centralized fingerprint database system EURODAC. The paper analyzes policy documents and secondary literature representing the EU internal IT and security discourse reflecting the composition of transnational biometric database systems. The paper investigates the impact of database systems on constituting data-publics and enabling or disabling data-subjects. It explores 1) how different biometric technologies provide different authority of knowing about data-publics; 2) how centralized and decentralized architectures of database systems shape different classifications of data-publics; and 3) how governance and designs of database infrastructures produce different vulnerabilities and impact on framing data-publics’ and data-subjects’ rights.

 

Digital practices for LGBTQ+ solidarity: narratives from Greece
Vasilis Galis and Vasiliki Makrygianni, IT University of Copenhagen

Migrants’ entanglements with ICTs reveals a wide spectrum of spaces and resistance practices that extend from the human body to transnational borderlands (Gillespie et al 2016). In this paper, we investigate how ICTs at the disposal of migrants not only question the very idea of citizenship and (il)legality (Galis & Summerton 2018) but also disturb dominant sexuality norms and act as a shield from sexist practices. Sexuality has been a terrain for creating and maintaining racialized, gendered, economic and geopolitical discriminations (Manalansan 2006, Palmary 2016). In migrants’ case, sexual orientation is a battleground not only for those on route trying to abolish borders of every kind but also for those settled in national territories. After crossing demarcated borderlines, moving populations continue to be governed and disciplined in sexual terms, while trying to access economic, health and welfare systems.

Based on an ongoing research we have been conducting since 2016 in the Greek territory, we highlight the ways social media, smartphones with multiple apps, computers and other digital technologies subvert dominant practices on sexuality and enact patterns of use in terms of navigation, information, contact, care and solidarity among others. In this respect, we investigate different aspects of migrants’ journey in order to trace self-organized, antisexist, and solidarity practices amongst members of LGBTQ+ communities and discuss their characteristics, their limits and potentialities. Sources of empirical material such as interviews with people on the move or settled in Greece, migrants’ narrations and published articles are used in order to broaden the understanding of sexuality discourse on migration and of bordering practices posed from heteronormativity and sexual norms. In this respect, we explore the ways sexuality is entangled with ICT and migration practices, and how are existing digital platforms reconfiguring spaces of sexism and solidarity networks for the LGBTQ+ communities. Focusing on sexuality, the paper aims to raise our understanding of queer migrants’ routes everyday practices and life conditions. Moreover, we address the potentials of ICTs for non-heteronormative subjectivities and the ways they challenge (or fail to challenge) borders of sexism. All in all, we aim to show how sexuality matters not only for critically addressing and abolishing bordering practices but also for highlighting terrains of (homo)solidarity and encounter.

 

Logistic rationalities: calculations in the Swedish administration of migrant distribution
Karin Krifors, Linköping University

Swedish municipalities after the ‘refugee crisis’ in 2015 have been portrayed as both success stories and failures in terms of their in/ability to include migrants. Economic ideologies concerning the immediate costs or future gains of migrant reception represents a conflict between the state and many municipalities (Hansen 2018). Economic rationalities are embedded in social and cultural values (Zelizer 2014). The administration of migrants constitutes an interesting case in which discourses of cultural value and social membership (Anderson 2013) can be thought to influence calculations that are represented as purely economic. State support is mainly administrated by the Migration Agency through policy implementations and mediation through software and algorithms calculating the distribution of migrants between different municipalities. The ‘fairness’ of the current system is debated and will likely be changed in line with a new government report on refugee reception emphasizing a more efficient administration (2018). These suggestions mirror a new language of logistics that can be found in the migration regimes of EU hot spots, corridors and hubs and German refugee management (Altenried, Bojadzijev, Höfler, Mezzadra and Wallis 2017). Critical logistics is suggested as an emerging field of research where the art of calculating and planning for mobility is studied with special attention to how the apolitical representation of its practices is challenged and how vulnerabilities and conflicts can be disclosed (Chua, Danyluk, Cowen and Khalili 2018).

Towards this background I investigate how policy intentions are translated into administrative practices at the Migration Agency and how regions and municipalities adapt to, or resist, these logics. Applying a perspective on the logistics of dis/placing migrants I ask: which conflicting rationalities can be identified when migrants are seen as (economic) resources or burdens?