Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

US and EU IT Systems for Migrant Management

When I was writing the "Pledge of Allegiance" series, I argued that nation-states were obviously not serious about controlling dual-nationality since they weren't, for example, sharing citizen databases.

As far as I know, we are not there - yet.  However, the systems to make that a reality one day are in progress.

On the EU side, ever heard of  The Schengen Information System (SIS) version II?  This system is used for both law enforcement and border control in the Schengen Area.  "It holds information on persons who may have been involved in a serious crime or may not have the right to enter or stay in the EU. It also contains alerts on missing persons, in particular children, as well as information on certain property, such as banknotes, cars, vans, firearms and identity documents, that may have been stolen, misappropriated or lost." The new version will come on-line in 2013 and, according to this article, will have a number of stunning new features.

On the US side, a system called E-Verify is becoming a killer-app.  This is a joint venture between Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.  It's an on-line system that can be accessed anywhere by anyone with Internet access and is used to verify that someone has the right to work in the U.S.   Seems to be popular with just about everyone except U.S. farmers who are against legislation that would make its use mandatory.

I'm not clairvoyant but I'm pretty sure that once you build systems like these and fill them with a lot of juicy and useful data, someone is going to want to link them (with nods and winks toward local privacy laws, of course).  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  On one hand I'd love to see the technical specs (call it professional curiosity - these must be fun and well-funded projects).  On the other, this is exactly the kind of over-sharing that makes me queasy about group therapy and government - both can do a lot of damage when they know and promiscuously share too much.

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