The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) invites you to join us Tuesday, December 19th from 9:30-11:30 a.m. EST for the launch of Digital Identities and Border Cultures: The Limits of Technosolutionism in the Management of Human Mobility. This latest report from DFRLab Senior Nonresident Fellow Nanjala Nyabola explores how technology is used to manage refugee and migrant populations around the world, creating risks and consequences for human rights.  

In 2021, there were an estimated 281 million migrants globally, comprising refugees and asylum seekers; students, those fleeing environmental and natural disasters, as well as those who relocated moving for work, or leisure; by this count, an estimated 3.6 percent of the world’s population was on the move. These populations exist in legal gray-areas, where domestic laws and protections often do not apply, and states increasingly leverage untested technologies to manage—and track—their movement. The often-charged political context in which policies regarding migration are formed has created a backdoor for states to shift from concepts of legal identity to digital identity outside democratic processes or serious consideration.

Danish Tech Ambassador Anne Marie Engtoft Meldgaard will provide introductory remarks on the deployment of new technologies in environments involving migrants and refugees, which served as the backdrop for this research.

DFRLab Senior Nonresident Fellow Nanjala Nyabola will present her latest report, finding that the absence of policy space for humane conversations around refugees and migrants is directly undermining democracy, and that the deployment of new technologies to fill the gap is further entrenching ethnonationalism and racism towards the global majority.


Amb. Anne Marie Engtoft Meldgaard
Danish Tech Ambassador
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark

Mizue Aizeki
Executive Director
Surveillance Resistance Lab

Petra Molnar
Associate Director of the Refugee Law Lab
Centre for Refugee Studies, York University 

Nanjala Nyabola
Nonresident Senior Fellow
Digital Forensic Research Lab

Moderated by

Rose Jackson
Director, Democracy & Tech Initiative, Digital Forensic Research Lab
Atlantic Council

Read the report


Aug 16, 2023

Digital identities and border cultures: The limits of technosolutionism in the management of human mobility

By Nanjala Nyabola

A paper to better inform the conversation around technology’s impact on democracy by evaluating technosolutionism and its application to the management of human mobility.

Afghanistan Africa

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.

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