DIGSSCORE Tuesday seminar

Katerina Linos: How Technology is Transforming Migration and Refugee Law

Linos presenting at seminar
Linos presenting at DIGSSCORE
Marta Eidheim

Katerina Linos is Professor at Berkeley Law, and Co-Director of the Miller Center for Global Challenges and the Law. Linos gave a talk at DIGSSCORE this Tuesday, on how technology is transforming migration and refugee law.


Until recently, migrants and refugees relied on family networks and word of mouth to make critical decisions about destination countries, formal versus informal travel routes, and applications for legal status. However, in an internet era, when many refugees consider Wi-Fi more important than food and shelter, social media, phone, and other internet-based communications are critical to refugee and migrant decision-making. At the same time, governments are employing new powerful identification and surveillance technologies. I will revisit basic questions in refugee law in light of these technological transformations. Refugee lawyers have long debated who deserves protection, who has a duty to protect, and how to ensure travel and ultimately integration in a safe country.  I will argue that core compromises in the refugee regime, such as the sharp distinction between deserving refugees and undeserving economic migrations, or the much heavier burden placed on proximate safe countries as compared to distant safe countries, become entirely unsustainable in light of technological transformations.