Symposium introduction: the ethics of border controls in a digital age

Natasha Saunders*, Alex Sager

*Corresponding author for this work

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This symposium brings into conversation normative political theory on migration and critical border/migration studies, with a particular focus on digital border control technology. Normative theorists have long been concerned with questions about the extent and nature of control over migration that the state should exercise, and the balance of rights and duties between states and migrants. To date, however, there has been little reflection among such theorists on digital border control technology. Critical border/migration studies scholars, on the other hand, have paid considerable attention to the rapid development of digital technology in the border control/mobility management space, and revealed a range of problems with the technology itself and the ways it is deployed. What has thus far been lacking, however, is sustained ethical reflection on what should be done about the use of this technology. The papers in this symposium thus seek to bring these two groups of scholars together and to prompt what we hope will be a sustained conversation on these rapidly evolving and deeply problematic practices. This introduction contextualises the issue at the heart of this symposium – the rapid expansion of digital border controls and the ethical challenges that these pose – and offers brief summaries of the contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date13 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2023


  • Digital borders
  • Surveillance
  • Dataveillance
  • Immigration
  • Open borders


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