German Immigration Agency Says Blockchain Tech Could Help Europe Strengthen Asylum Procedures


An office of the German government has released conclusions from a recently concluded Proof of Concept (PoC), which iterates the power of blockchain technology in the resolution of outstanding issues affecting the country’s asylum process. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAFM) located in Nuremberg which is the final authority on all of Germany’s migration matters released this white paper on the 26th of March, explaining their PoC.

Why this PoC?

The project was a collaboration between the BAFM and the Project Group Business & Information Systems Engineering of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT. Their main aim was to assess the possibility of blockchain implementation in the establishment of unique digital identities for the migrants in question and also to create a better flow of information and support between all levels of the government, on immigration matters.

Findings

The conclusions of the PoC include the possibility of using blockchain to generate inviolable virtual identities for migrants entering the country without the required documents. This would be done by making it mandatory for these people to have their biometric details taken at the point of entry. This data would then be made available to the government at different levels, for a more unified effort.

The paper also seems to suggest that this solution should be adopted for not just Germany, but the entire European continent.

According to the paper:

“Blockchain could be the ‘digital enabler’ of European federalism in the asylum context. This system would allow the EU member states to create a European platform for the decentralized management of asylum procedures. This platform would facilitate the one-off registration of asylum seekers upon arrival in Europe…The creation of a European Blockchain-based identity platform could even constitute a further step towards a united Europe. Digital identities…could support Europe’s unity at a fundamental level.”

Could GDPR Impede this?

Ever since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was officially implemented in 2018, a lot of institutions have had to re-design how they receive personal data from people. Since this is still in place, the white paper clearly notes that certain laws that guard the collection of personal data – like the GDPR – especially as it currently is in the EU, might be a bit of a problem for the implementation of a framework like this.

However, the paper still does note that it is possible to create a framework like this but adjust it so it does not contravene any data privacy laws.

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