EU to provide Greece with 'sound cannons' to halt migrant entry

EU to provide Greece with 'sound cannons' to halt migrant entry
Greek border guards have started to use remote-sensing devices to monitor the movement of migrants entering Greece by river, prompting human rights concerns.
2 min read
03 June, 2021
Greece is using long-range audio devices to prevent migrants entering

Greece will use "sound cannons" to deter migrants from entering the country, prompting outcry from human rights groups.

The cannons - which emit a high-pitched noise as loud as a jet engine - are reportedly being provided to the Greek government by the European Union.

These remote devices have started to be used by Greek border guards to monitor the movement of migrants entering Greece via the Evros River on the Greek-Turkish border.

A recently erected steel wall similar in likeness to the wall constructed on the United States- Mexico border is also in place.

Mounted on armoured trucks, the long-range acoustic devices are the size of a small television.

According to sources, they could be used to detect migrants within a 10km radius allowing guards to detain migrants crossing the Greek border from Turkey.

The devices are part of larger effort by the European Union to increase spending on border control. Between 2021 and 2027 the EU is planning to invest some 35 million Euros in border control, according to a report by DW News.

Observation towers will also be fitted with long-range cameras, night vision, and sensors. Data collected by them will be sent to control centres to identify suspicious movement using artificial intelligence.

"We will have a clear 'pre-border' picture of what's happening," Police Maj. Dimonsthenis Kamargios, head of the region's border guard authority, told the Associated Press.

Such devices have been the cause of criticism, with human rights activists and politicians calling them inhumane.

Patrick Breyer, a European lawmaker from Germany, has taken an EU research authority to court, demanding that details of a AI-powered lie detection programme be made public.

"What we are seeing at the borders, and in treating foreign nationals generally, is that it's often a testing field for technologies that are later used on Europeans as well. And that's why everybody should care, in their own self-interest," Breyer said.

Ella Jakubowska, of the digital rights group EDRi, argued that EU officials were adopting "techno-solutionism" to sideline moral considerations in dealing with the complex issue of migration.

"It is deeply troubling that, time and again, EU funds are poured into expensive technologies which are used in ways that criminalize, experiment with, and dehumanize people on the move," she said.