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Mozilla Fellow Petra Molnar joins us to work on AI & discrimination

By EDRi · September 26, 2019

Starting on 1 October, Petra Molnar will join our team as a Mozilla Fellow. She is a lawyer specialising in migration, human rights, and technology, and has a Masters of Social Anthropology from York University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Toronto, and an LL.M in International Law from the University of Cambridge. Mozilla Fellowships are organised and supported by the Mozilla Foundation and engage in a specific project in collaboration with an association, such as EDRi. With our upcoming work on artificial intelligence (AI) and our experience working on surveillance and data protection, we look forward to working with Petra, to add our voice to the ongoing discussions on the impact of algorithms on vulnerable populations, such as migrants and refugees.

Artificial intelligence and migration management from a human rights perspective

The systematic detention of migrants at the US-Mexico border. The wrongful deportation of 7 000 foreign students accused of cheating on a language test. Racist or sexist discrimination based on social media profiles. What do these examples have in common? In every case, an algorithm made a decision with serious consequences for people’s lives.

Nearly 70 million people are currently on the move due to conflict, instability, environmental factors, and economic reasons. Many states and international organisations involved in migration management are exploring machine learning to increase efficiency and support border security. These experiments range from big data predictions about population movements in the Mediterranean, to Canada’s use of automated decision-making in immigration applications, to AI lie detectors deployed at European airports. However, most of these experiments fail to account for the far-reaching impacts on human lives and human rights. These unregulated technologies are developed with little oversight, transparency, and accountability.

Expanding on my work on the human rights impacts of automated decision-making in immigration, this ethnographic project and accompanying advocacy campaign aims to create a governance mechanism for AI in migration with human rights at the centre. While embedded at EDRi, I will interview affected populations, experts, technologists, and policy makers to produce a well-researched report on the human rights impacts of migration management technologies, collaborating with academics, tech developers, the UN, governments, and civil society. This project will build on the work already done in the EU and provide feedback to EDRi’s ongoing work on AI. I will engage with NGOs to help build EDRi’s network and broaden the scope of action to non-digital groups beyond the EU, translating these efforts into a global strategy for the governance of migration management technologies.

I am delighted to be working with EDRi on this important project as the 2019-2020 Mozilla Fellow!

Mozilla Fellowships

Big Data and International Migration (16.06.2014)

Bots at the Gate – A Human Rights Analysis of Automated Decision Making in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee System (26.09.2018)

Emerging Voices: Immigration, Iris-Scanning and iBorderCTRL–The Human Rights Impacts of Technological Experiments in Migration (19.08.2019)

(Contribution, Petra Molnar, selected Mozilla Fellow, EDRi)