Screening social media and smartphones in asylum procedures

The increasing use of social media and mobile devices by asylum seekers offers new vetting opportunities for immigration authorities, to verify the identity or to assess national-security or 1F-exclusion aspects. In the Journal of Refugee Studies, Maarten Bolhuis and Joris van Wijk describe and analyse the growing reliance on social media and smartphone screening by immigration authorities in five European countries.

They conclude that the first experiences with both of these new methods seem to be mixed, while formal evaluations of the results seem to be lacking. They argue that the increasing reliance on these methods, in combination with the further advancement of technology, raises important questions about possible infringements on the right to private life, as well as the risk of function creep and social sorting. It can be questioned to what extent the use of these new vetting tools and methods is proportional to the results they produce and to what extent fundamental human rights, including privacy, are sufficiently safeguarded.

Find the article here.