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Eurodac in Times of Bigness: The Power of Big Data within the Emerging European IT Agency


  • Vassilis S. Tsianos
  • Brigitta Kuster


Private and government sectors are operating hand in hand for biometric identity assurance solutions to meet security requirements at borders, for elections or for the private sector. Our paper will explore Eurodac, a large biometric information database concerning asylum applications and irregular border crossings, as part of the emerging European Big Data Economy. Drawing on the concept of the digital border and of the surveillance assemblage (Haggerty, Kevin D., and Richard V. Ericson. 2000. The Surveillant Assemblage. British Journal of Sociology 51, no. 4: 605–22) we understand Eurodac not only as a technological border but as inflected by social, symbolic, organizational and juridical cultures, practices, and imaginaries that are beyond the literal realm of the electronic space. Our paper investigates the dynamics of big data in the context of the integration of Eurodac within the larger framework of the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area freedom, security and justice (EU-LISA). EU-LISA is the operational platform of three large-scale European databases with regards to foreigners and their mobility within and towards Europe, namely Eurodac, the Schengen Information System (SIS II) and the Visa Information System (VIS). This paper tries to outline some of the problems brought about when processing big amounts of data for the purpose of European immigration and identification policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Vassilis S. Tsianos & Brigitta Kuster, 2016. "Eurodac in Times of Bigness: The Power of Big Data within the Emerging European IT Agency," Journal of Borderlands Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 235-249, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rjbsxx:v:31:y:2016:i:2:p:235-249
    DOI: 10.1080/08865655.2016.1174606

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