European Commission proposing using drones to catch illegal immigrants
August 05,2012: The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU), has proposed a plan to deploy drones across the Mediterranean Sea to catch illegal immigrants. The Mediterranean is a major transit point for undocumented immigration. Already 170 immigrants have died trying to reach southern European shores this year
The proposal states "sensors mounted on any platforms, including manned and unmanned aerial vehicles" would keep a close eye on any illegal immigration activity in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the European Commission. The proposal, known as EUROSUR has not been brought to the European Parliament yet, however, many hope to put it into place by next year. The plan is just one part of a $410 million proposal to improve border security.
"EUROSUR will help detect and fight criminal networks' activities and be a crucial tool for saving migrants who put their lives at risk trying to reach EU shores," said Cecilia Malmström, the EU's commissioner for home affairs.
The European Commission has not released full details of the plan yet so it is unclear what kind of satellites or drones will be used. Critics argue that the drones could lead to immigrants being criminalized before they even leave their border if sensors are attached to African beaches.
The European Commission denies that EUROSUR could be abused saying: "The situational pictures will as a general rule not involve personal data but rather the exchange of information on incidents and depersonalized objects, such as the detection and tracking of vessels."