Katerina Linos, Professor, Berkeley Law:
“How Technology is Transforming Migration and Refugee Law”


In her lecture professor Katerina Linos, Professor at Berkeley Law, presented part of her ongoing research concerning the relation between refuge law and the use of information and communication technologies by refugees. She argued that until recently, migrants and refugees relied on family networks and word of mouth to make critical decisions about destination countries, formal versus informal travel routes, and applications for legal status. However, in an internet era, when many refugees consider Wi-Fi more important than food and shelter, social media, phone, and other internet-based communications are critical to refugee and migrant decision-making. Her lecture revisited basic questions in refugee law in light of these technological transformations. Furthermore, she highlighted the existence of a crucial information vacuum between official information released by governments on refugee status and unofficial (mis)information and rumours produced and circulated through the use of social media. Finally, she advocated a reform in refuge law regime in order to become aligned with changes in technologically mediated information flows. This will lead to a more effective and democratic implementation of refugee policies, that takes into account refugee rights and choices.

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