Sniffing out refugees’ phones violates rights, produces no meaningful results.
The study “Invading Refugees’ Phones – Digital Forms of Migration Control in Germany and Europe” examines the data carrier evaluation introduced by the BAMF in 2017. If asylum seekers cannot present valid passports or passport replacement documents, the BAMF is entitled to extract and analyze data from data carriers such as phones in order to check their owner’s stated origin and identity. While generating hardly usable results, this data carrier evaluation violates the fundamental rights of tens of thousands of asylum seekers.
Results of Data Carrier Evaluations in 2018
Since the beginning of data carrier evaluation in 2017, the BAMF has read out a total of about 20,000 mobile phones of asylum seekers and invested more than 11 million euros to acquire and support the necessary technologies. Between January 2018 and June 2019, about a quarter of data carrier evaluations already failed at the first stage due to technical problems. In only one to two percent of the cases did the evaluation result in a contradiction to the information provided by asylum seekers themselves. In all other cases, the test confirmed asylum seekers’ submissions.
Total Costs of Reading Out And Analyzing Data Carriers, in Euro
For the study, journalist Anna Biselli and GFF lawyer Lea Beckmann comprehensively researched and evaluated numerous available sources. These include data carrier evaluation reports, asylum files, internal BAMF regulations such as a user manual for reading mobile data carriers and training documents for BAMF employees and documents from the legislative process. In addition, findings from various background conversations with refugees, lawyers and legal scholars, procedural advice centers and human rights organizations in Germany and other European countries were included.
Download Full Study
The full study is available here:
PDF download Study “Invading Refugees’ Phones – Digital Forms of Migration Control in Germany and Europe” (published 02/17/2020; 49 p.; 2 MB)
PDF download “Das Smartphone, bitte! Digitalisierung von Migrationskontrolle in Deutschland und Europa”
(published 12/27/2019; 48 p.; 2 MB)
This is how data carrier evaluation works
This Information is Part of The Results Report
- Video recording of Lea Beckmann’s and Anna Biselli’s talk on digital migration control and data carrier evaluation at #36C3 (12/27/2019; German audio, subtitles in various languages)
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