Smart Borders, Digital Identity and Big Data: How Surveillance Technologies Are Used Against Migrants

GLODEM Book Club

GLODEM is pleased to announce the Spring talk of 2023-2024 academic year’s GLODEM Book Club, with Dr. Emre Eren Korkmaz on his latest book “Smart Borders, Digital Identity and Big Data How Surveillance Technologies Are Used Against Migrants”

GLODEM Book Club, features leading scholars from around the globe discussing timely issues related to globalization, political economy, peace and conflict resolution, democratic governance and administration.

GLODEM invites you to the GLODEM Book Club.


Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Time: 14:30 (GMT+3:00)

Speaker: Dr. Emre Eren Korkmaz, Oxford University, Centre on Migration

Moderator: Merih Angin, Koç University


Title: Smart Borders, Digital Identity and Big Data: How Surveillance Technologies Are Used Against Migrants


About the Book:

In recent years, UN agencies, global tech corporations, states and humanitarian NGOs have invested in advanced technologies from smart borders to digital identities to manage migratory movements. These are surveillance technologies that have intensified the militarization of borders and became a testing ground for surveillance capitalism.

This book shows how these technologies reproduce structural inequalities and discriminative policies. Korkmaz reveals the way in which they grant extensive powers to states and big tech corporations to control communities.

Unpacking the effects of surveillance capitalism on vulnerable populations, this is a much-needed intervention that will be of interest to readers in a range of fields.

About the Author:

Dr Korkmaz worked at the Oxford Department of International Development (ODID) as a British Academy Fellow for two years, then as a Departmental Lecturer in the MSc in Migration Studies program. He was also a Junior Research Fellow at St Edmund Hall (2017-2020) and an affiliate of the Department of Political Science and International Relations’s Centre for Technology and Global Affairs (2018-2019). In 2016, Dr Korkmaz was awarded a PhD from Istanbul University’s International Relations PhD Programme.

As a political scientist and international relations expert, he is driven by a passion to shed light on the social and political impact of technological innovation, focusing on surveillance technologies in migration management, border security, and international development. His publications and research projects on AI and data science in migration management and international development directly relate to policy-making processes and create avenues of conversation with various policy-making agencies, from governments to NGOs and UN agencies. He examines these developments to contribute to a surveillance capitalism theory and aims to understand the evolution of contemporary capitalism.

He co-edited Data Science for Migration and Mobility — with Professor Albert Ali Salah (University of Utrecht) and Dr Tuba Bircan (University of Cambridge) — which was published by the Oxford University Press Proceedings of British Academy in November 2022.

His first monograph, “Smart Borders, Digital Identity and Big Data: How Surveillance Technologies Are Used Against Migrants”, was published by the Bristol University Press in December 2023.

His current research project with the World Food Programme was launched in October 2023. The project, “Using Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Techniques for Vulnerability Assessment, Targeting and Assurance in Humanitarian Action,” aims to resolve data scarcity during humanitarian emergencies in Africa and the Middle East and suggest new vulnerability assessment and targeting techniques. This project would provide practitioner-related outputs as our proposed methods will be tested and implemented directly on the ground.

The event will be held in English.