Constructing the EU’s high-tech borders: FRONTEX and dual-use drones for border management

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Series Details Vol.27, No.2, 2018, p175-200
Publication Date June 2018
ISSN 0966-2839
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FRONTEX has highlighted Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) as affordable and efficient capabilities for securing the EU’s vast frontiers in order to further upgrade them into smart technological borders. In this regard, this article examines the EU’s strategy and rationalisations to develop dual-use technologies such as aerial surveillance drones for border management.

By drawing on critical security and technology studies and by focusing on their functional technological efficiency, the article argues that drones are being normalised in a technological regime of exclusion at the border-zone. It further contends that high-end technologies such as drones introduce a military bias as security enablers in border surveillance and as a panacea for the consequences of failed policies to manage irregular migration.

A closer examination of several EU-endorsed drone projects reveals a pragmatic and industry-driven approach to border security, underlining the evolving homogenisation between internal and external security and the imminent “dronisation” of European borders.

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