We’re prepping for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference! This week, Cherlynn and Devindra chat about the announcements they’re expecting at WWDC, including new computers with M2 chips (and potentially a revamped MacBook Air!). What’s next for iOS and MacOS – will lockscreen widgets really be useful? And they hold out hope to hear something about the company’s AR/VR glasses. Also, they discuss the surprising news about Sheryl Sandberg leaving Meta, as well as Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Go 2.
Listen above, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!
What to expect at WWDC 2022 – 1:29
Could Apple AR Glasses make an appearance? Some rumors – 2:30
Possible news on iPhone 14, iOS 16, iPadOS, and WatchOS – 14:10
Youtube’s TV app now lets you use your phone as a second screen – 30:15
Surface Laptop Go 2 announcement – 33:19
Sheryl Sandberg leaves Facebook after 14 years – 36:23
France bans English e-sports terminology – 42:33
Working on – 44:22
Pop culture picks – 52:38
Credits Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar Producer: Ben Ellman Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos Graphic artists: Luke Brooks and Brian Oh
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Developments in global border control technologies are providing innovative ways to address issues relating to migration, asylum-seeking and the introduction of illegal goods into countries.
But while governments and national security can benefit from this, advanced surveillance technology creates risks for the misuse of personal data and the violation of human rights.
Technology at the border
One of US President Joe Biden’s first actions was to introduce a bill that prioritizes “smart border controls”, as part of a commitment to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system”.
These controls will supplement existing resources at the border with Mexico. They will include technology and infrastructure developed to enhance the screening of incoming asylum seekers and prevent the arrival of narcotics.
Under the Trump administration, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) partnered with controversial data analytics firm Palantir to link tip-offs from police and citizens with other databases, in a bid to arrest undocumented people.
The iBorderCtrl test analysed the facial micro-gestures of travelers crossing international borders at three undisclosed airports, with the aim of determining whether travelers were lying about the purpose of their trip.
Avatars questioned travelers about themselves and their trip while webcams scanned face and eye movements.
Europe’s border and coastguard agency Frontex has also been investing in border control technology for several years. Since last year, Frontex has operated unmanned drones to detect asylum-seekers attempting to enter various European states.
While Australia has been slower to implement enhanced surveillance at maritime borders, in 2018 the federal government announced it would spend A$7 billion on six long-range unmanned drones to monitor Australian waters. These aren’t expected to be operational until at least 2023.
Automated border control systems, however, have been used since 2007. SmartGates at many international airports use facial recognition to verify travelers’ identities against data stored in biometric passports.
In 2017, Bangladeshi Industry Minister Amir Hossain Amu said the government was collecting biometric data from Rohingya people in the country to “keep record” of them and send them “back to their own place”.
Data misuse can also happen when questionable “science” is involved. For instance, emotion recognition algorithms used in unproven lie-detection tests are highly problematic.
The way people communicate varies widely across cultures and situations. Someone’s ability to answer a question at a border could be affected by trauma, their personality, the way the question is framed or the perceived intentions of the interviewer.
Technologies such as iBorderCtrl undermine the rights of migrants, asylum-seekers and all international travelers. They could be used to refuse entry or detain travelers based on race or ethnicity.
Racial profiling at borders isn’t uncommon. It came to light again when New South Wales MP Mehreen Faruqi experienced it at a US airport in 2016.
The Pakistani-born Greens member told The Guardian she was detained at an airport for more than an hour, after immigration staff took her fingerprint, asked her where she was “originally from” and how she got an Australian passport.
The good news is many people are now speaking out against how border control technologies can impact migrants, refugees and other travelers.
In February, the European Court of Justice heard a case brought by digital rights activist and German politician Patrick Breyer.
Breyer is seeking the release of documents on the ethical evaluation, legal admissibility, marketing and test results of iBorderCtrl. He is concerned the EU is being secretive about a “scientifically highly controversial project” funded by taxpayer money.
In Australia, the Digital Rights Watch is the main organisation that scrutinizes surveillance practices.