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Stop the EUMigraTool rollout: predictive AI systems have no place in EU migration policies

The EU-funded ITFlows project must not roll out dangerous AI tools that “predict migration flows,” and “detect risks of tensions related to migration.” Access Now and civil organisations from across Europe are calling on the ITFlows Consortium — which coordinates the ITFlows research project designed to ensure “​​adequate management solutions of migration flows”  — to immediately halt the development of the EUMigraTool and stop pursuing the use of any and all technologies that can be used to criminalise migration, and target specific groups and individuals.

“Predictive AI systems have no place in migration within and around the EU, and it’s incredibly reckless to inject ‘techno-solutionism’ into this scenario,” said Caterina Rodelli, EU Policy Analyst at Access Now. “Access Now isn’t just raising red flags around specific technology. This is about intervening before any dangerous AI tool is ever given legitimacy in a framework like this. It is not possible to predict migration without risking fundamental rights, and we cannot allow these distorted ideas to gain a foothold in such a serious and life-altering context.”

In particular, the ITFlows forecasting tool — funding of which falls within a cluster of an EU security grant that also funded notorious pseudo-scientific “lie-detectors” in the iBorderCtrl project  — has the potential to be abused by authorities to block border crossings and disrupt movement, jeopardising people’s rights to asylum and non-discrimination. The tool may also be exploited in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement — the forbidding of forcibly returning people seeking asylum back to a country they tried to leave, and where their human rights are at risk. Furthermore, the use of predictive analytics tools such as these are currently under negotiation for stricter regulation within the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) — they cannot be implemented by one EU-funded project, while being debated as a threat amongst EU institutions. 

The ITFlows project has tested the first version of the EUMigraTool as part of a research project, and is currently deciding on its full-scale rollout. This dangerous tool has no place within migration. Through an open letter, civil society organisations are calling on the ITFlows Consortium to:

  • Withdraw the EUMigraTool and stop developing systems that are being considered for strict regulation under the AI Act;
  • Reflect on how this project legitimates the use of technological tools in the securitisation of migration and the criminalisation of movement; and
  • Oppose the deployment of tools to predict migration patterns that can be used to violate fundamental  rights. 

Read the full letter.