A collection of twelve stories highlighting the key emerging themes of the research from the experiences of both those that are 'new' to Europe and those that 'welcome' them.
Digital technology, particularly social media, is essential to migration for navigating new lives, connection and solidarity. Yet, digital technology has equally opened up unprecedented possibilities and strategies of surveillance, of monitoring, controlling and detaining people. The risk of surveillance – especially in the context of war, rebellion and migration – too often means risk of life, too. The need to be and feel connected via digital media while fearing the consequences of surveillance puts people in the ambiguous position to negotiate their own digital practices in particular ways, putting themselves out there while not disclosing too much. And with increasingly smart surveillance techniques and the growth of big data technology such risks will only intensify, making acts of resistance, of connection and indeed, of migration evermore precarious.
SURVEILLANCE AS A WEAPON
Many of the newcomers we met during our fieldwork fled their worn-torn home countries where they had found themselves in constant danger of surveillance. Due to the life-threatening situations in their home countries, many people ventured on their journey to Europe in the hope of a safer, sounder, more peaceful place.
POLITICS OF SURVEILLANCE
A number of newcomers expressed great concern about safety and security on social media. In response to these concerns, they either avoid social media altogether, or engage in self-censorship to avoid endangering themselves or their families back home. Some people more concretely express their anger to Europe’s complicity to expansive digital surveillance. Surveillance, they said, inevitably pushes them away from certain people and places deemed as dangerous by the state and deprives them from free speech and political agency. While some of those who raised concerns on surveillance developed strategies to avoid it, others chose to take risks rather than being silenced.