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Ethics of Border Security

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Last modified: 
Wed, 17/10/2012 - 13:02
This study aims to provide border guards with an overview of the ethical issues that can arise from their work and with a guide to the ethical principles that can help to manage and resolve those issues. The study is divided into three parts: The first part is a survey and analysis of codes of conduct currently in use by border agencies in EU countries. It begins by giving a brief description of the aims and functions of codes of conduct. It then provides an overview of 23 border guard codes of conduct, highlighting their shared concerns and noting their differences. This comparative survey is first presented in a table and then discussed in more detail. The study concludes by identifying the both main areas of overlap and the gaps between the national codes of conduct and the Schengen Code and Handbook. The second part of the study addresses these gaps by providing a comprehensive overview of the main ethical principles that relate to border guard practice. Most of these principles are entrenched in international and EU law, but some are drawn from national codes of conduct for border guards, and others have been articulated in non-binding EU policy documents. The source of each principle is clearly explained. The principles are organised by the area of border guard activity they regulate. For each area of border guard activity, the study identifies the ethical issues that might arise, illustrating these as far as possible with realistic examples. It then explains how the ethical principle requires or advises border guards to manage those ethical issues, giving examples of good practice. The third part of this study provides an overview of the ethical issues arising from the use of detection and identification technologies by border guards. It also provides guidance for border guards on how these issues can be managed in accordance with EU laws and ethical commitments. For each technology currently used by border agencies, the study explains the ethical issues that may arise, illustrating these with realistic examples. It also provides an overview on the laws, regulations, and recommendations addressing these issues at the EU level. The sources it draws on include European law, European Commission communications and recommendations, European Parliament statements and commissioned research, statements of the European Data Protection Supervisor and reports of the Fundamental Rights Agency.
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Maria Duro Mansilla (