"Bio-bordering" in the EU and the surveillance of "non-publics"
Nina Amelung (University of Minho)
Helena Machado (University of Minho)
Paper short abstract:
The article proposes the notion of "bio-bordering" to focus on recent transnational surveillance regimes targeting criminalized (non)citizens based on biometric technologies used at and across borders.
Paper long abstract:
The article proposes the notion of "bio-bordering" to focus on recent transnational surveillance regimes targeting criminalized (non)citizens based on biometric technologies used at and across borders. Its approach is influenced by the analytical repertoire of science and technology studies as well as critical surveillance studies. We exemplary introduce the transnational DNA data exchange system regulated under the Prüm decisions, an EU-based transnational network for the exchange of DNA profile data which aims to combat cross-border crime and terrorism. The empirical illustration serves to portray multiple de- and re-bordering processes along nation states' bio-borders. We discuss how our conceptual proposition of making invisible bio-borders visible helps to understand, first, the implications of de-bordering processes on the normalization of transnational surveillance through automated biometric database systems. Second, it sheds light on how multiple de- and re-bordering processes create surveillance systems of heterogeneous "non-publics" being differently targeted by data protection policies and criminal investigation practices and with unevenly distributed and ambivalent access to exercise their rights. Such "non-publics" emerge from the asymmetrically permeable bio-borders enabling the (non)exchange of categories mapping groups and individuals ranging from suspects and convicted offenders to missing persons and relatives of missing persons.
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