Drones may track migrants

ATHENS, Nov 1, 2010 (IPS, Apostolis Fotiadis) - The notice appeared quietly on the website of Frontex, Europe's agency to fight undocumented migration. It called for expressions of interest in demonstrating "Small UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and Fixed systems for Land border surveillance" at its workshop. " In the domain of land border surveillance, there is a wide spectrum of possible technical means that can be employed to provide effective surveillance including: daylight and infrared cameras, ground radars, fixed ground sensors, mobile systems, manned aircraft and satellites," the notice read.


The European Security Research and Innovation Forum (ESRIF) that ran between 2007 and 2009 brought together individuals and groups from the research community, the private business security sector, and European institutions. Frontex has been a key voice in the forum.


Frank Slijper from the anti-militaristic initiative Campagne Tegen Wapenhandel tells IPS that the forum has been more than a meeting place for exchange of opinion on security issues.

"ESRIF was the place in Europe where these supply and demand actors met in a structured formalised setting," he said. "A win-win situation really for all sides on the forum. Such initiatives are steps that enable military integration at a later point."

Slijper added: "Note the number of arms companies on board of ESRIF, who post 9/11 have set up special (homeland) security divisions in their companies as that has been a new growth market for their companies."