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Mobility, Control and Technology in Border Areas: Discretion and Decision-making in the Information Age

On 20 March 2019, Tim Dekkers defended his thesis 'Mobility, Control and Technology in Border Areas: Discretion and Decision-making in the Information Age'. The doctoral research was supervised by Prof. dr. J.P. van der Leun en Prof. dr. M.A.H. van der Woude.

Tim Dekkers
20 March 2019
Leiden Repository

Information and information technology are playing an increasingly larger role in society today. One area in which developments related to information-driven work are clearly visible is migration control. The removal of systematic border controls involves security risks, as there is no longer a clear picture of who is moving in and out of the country. These risks have acquired a prominent role in debates in society now that migrants are increasingly associated with crime.

Authorities are collecting more and more information about who is crossing their border and at what moment. This information can then be used for a risk analysis to detect potential high-risk individuals and to take action if necessary. Though expectations related to such information and information technology are high, little research has been conducted on how this is used in practice, and whether these expectations are fulfilled. This dissertation aims to provide more insight into the use of information and information technology in migration control.

Although expectations of policy makers are high when it comes to information and information technology, it appears from observations and interviews with officers that this technology has only a limited impact on decisions taken during MTV checks. Officers give as an underlying reason for this that the information they receive is often not specific enough and they see little added value in the intelligent camera system that is intended to support their work. In addition to this, the researcher proposes that there is an apparent shift in the objective of MTV. When MTV was established, the checks were clearly aimed at migration control, but in the course of time more emphasis has been placed on combatting crime, both at the political level as well as the implementation level. This creates tension in view of the official objectives of MTV and the corresponding authorities of the officers.

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