Campaign: ADM and People on the Move

Borders without AI

29,000 people have died in the Mediterranean over the past ten years while trying to reach the EU. You would think that the EU wanted this tragedy to stop and scientists across Europe were working feverishly on making this happen with the latest technology. The opposite is the case: With the help of so-called Artificial Intelligence, the walls are being raised, financed with taxpayers' money.

Image by Studio Pauke for AlgorithmWatch

Fabio Chiusi
Research Associate

Drones, satellites, and other digital monitoring systems: For decades, the EU's external borders have been upgraded with state-of-the-art surveillance technology to create so-called smart borders. Now, algorithms and Artificial Intelligence can add to the wall.

Their development is funded with millions of euros by EU research programs with names like Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe. The funded projects read like a catalog of surveillance technologies. Instead of trying to save people from losing their lives, they put all of us in danger.

People at Europe's borders are forced to surrender their human rights to AI systems and algorithms. This must stop! Support us raise awareness to their plight and make a donation. We are fighting for a society in which real humanity beats Artificial Intelligence.

Would you like to make a commitment to digital human rights? Then become a supporting member:

It doesn’t come as a surprise that most initiatives are kept secret. The public learns next to nothing about them. Law enforcement and border authorities prefer not to be bothered with giving insights into their work. They try to avoid a democratic debate about the research and development of this sort of AI-driven surveillance technology.

We went through an endless list of such EU research projects to find out what systems in the making might be used at our borders in the future. In the process, we found out about the EU’s security policy principles: Migrants are considered a threat and border protection mainly a matter of automation and expanding surveillance capabilities – far beyond existing borders.

Want to learn more about EU-funded experiments at our borders? Read our long-read article:

The automated Fortress Europe: No place for human rights

We investigated how EU research programs are raising the digital walls of the EU's external border with the help of algorithms and Artificial Intelligence. As a result, the catalogue of surveillance technologies is constantly being expanded.

Our research was recently the ZDF Magazin Royale show’s main topic. You can find the show (in German only) in the ZDF media library:

Such principles threaten social justice, non-discrimination, fairness, and fundamental human rights. It is mainly just ignored how dangerous this is but partly academically discussed in the research projects’ "ethics assessments." The systems will be developed anyway, even if the assessments fundamentally question whether the systems’ use can be justified at all. Many of these projects should not have been funded in the first place, so they should not be pursued.

This is why we are launching our #GrenzenOhneKI (BordersWithoutAI) campaign. We track where EU funds are going and report on how the automated Fortress Europe is being built – and expanded at the expense of human rights.

You can support our work by becoming a “Friend of AlgorithmWatch.” Find more information here:

Become a friend of AlgorithmWatch!

Make sure that algorithms and artificial intelligence strengthen justice, democracy and sustainability instead of weakening them. Become a supporting member of AlgorithmWatch - starting at just 5 euros per month.

WatchParty AW

Read more on our policy & advocacy work on ADM and People on the Move.

Sign up for our Community Newsletter

For more detailed information, please refer to our privacy policy.