As if people-sniffing robots weren’t enough: A satellite system called the “Sea Horse,” which was built to monitor migrant vessels from the coast of North Africa, will be used to track the movements of illegal immigrants making their way from Africa to Europe, particularly the shores of Spain and Portugal.
Funded by the E.U. and developed in Spain, the Sea Horse will, according to Russia Today:
enable police forces in the partaking countries to distinguish any illegal activities, namely illegal immigration and drug trafficking, by a single high-speed communications and data network. A coordination centre has been set up in Gran Canaria’s capital Las Palmas where officials receive information about immigration flows and suspicious ships sent from the individual surveillance stations established in coastline cities such as Praia in Cape Verde and Dakar in Senegal. Police will then be able to plot charts and prepare the interception of illegal vessels.
While this sort of satellite technology is far from unique, this is the first time it’s been applied to chasing down immigrants. And while the European press seems to think this is excellent news, it’s worth asking: Is all the funding that went into building and running this program (1.8 million euros and counting) really the best investment? Sure, drug trafficking enforcement is one thing. But the costs of running such an operation may not outweigh the benefits. And that’s without considering the fact that many of these would-be immigrants are fleeing genocides, civil wars, and countless other atrocities.
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- Properties in Portugal | September 19, 2009