Accepted Paper:

Marginal stories of an EU database: Liminal data objects in the EU-Turkey Statement  


Vasileios Spyridon Vlassis (IT University Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the way that legislations governing the use of systems and databases designed for purposes as different as law enforcement and migration control intertwine with the practices of different Member States, by looking at the correlation between EURODAC and the Prüm Convention.

Paper long abstract:

In the context of the EU's border regime the multi-level process of the construction of the "Other", is heavily mediated by the registration, storage and comparison of personal and biometric data in large, often interconnected digital databases. These ICT tools not only enable (if not enforce) certain realities on the subject/migrant but have played an important role in the extensively discussed ontological transformation of bordering.

The function of the aforementioned tools, is usually legislated in a responsive manner, draws from often re-occurring "emergency and crisis" discourses, and heads towards greater interoperability and constant expansion of scope. Reflecting the different realities and political agendas of different Member States, the implementation of this legislation is not always smooth, as the story of the Dublin Regulation has shown.

Seeking to enrich the critical discussion around the use of such databases and the function creep phenomenon that accompanies their design and use, this paper will discuss two instances of use of biometric data, namely the EURODAC database and the Prüm Convention. Examining the interference of the legislations governing these two different systems, the paper seeks to conceptualise "unorthodox" uses of data as the outcome of different practices among EU Member States, in the "margin" of the EU border control and asylum system.

Panel E02
The European Other as site of institutional experiment. Articulating friction in infrastructures for processing alterity