Coming soon! - The PERSONA Textbook will be out in May 2021

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The PERSONA consortium is pleased to announce that the PERSONA Textbook, the main outcome of the PERSONA project, is currently under peer-review and will be available in May 2021 as pdf with open access.

J. Peter Burgess and Dariusz Kloza (eds.) (2021)

Border Control and New Technologies: Addressing Integrated Impact Assessment

Brussels: ASP Editions (forthcoming).

This book will present the theory and practice of impact assessment tailored to new border control technologies that are increasingly employed at state borders with the aim of facilitating border checks. Experience has shown that their use often comes into conflict with societal values such as the respect for fundamental rights to privacy and personal data protection. As a result, there is a growing need to accommodate two requirements, the first being the deployment of new border control technologies and the second being the respect for relevant societal values. This book introduces a tool that seeks to accommodate both requirements: impact assessment.

Impact assessment is an evaluation technique used to analyse the potential future consequences of a given measure for societal values. The main objective of the assessment process is to support informed decision-making about whether or not, and under what conditions, to deploy a given measure.

“Border Control and New Technologies: Addressing Integrated Impact Assessment” is addressed predominantly to border control authorities in the European Union and in the Schengen Area who wish to ensure that new technologies for controlling state borders respect the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The handbook will be of interest also for border control officials elsewhere in the world as well as for anyone dealing with the theory and practice of impact assessment.

To ensure its widest accessibility and dissemination, the book will be published in Open Access, under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license. Open Access guarantees the book will be distributed online, free of cost or other access barriers. Furthermore, the said Creative Commons license allows anyone to share and readapt the content of the book, including translating it, for non-commercial purposes, providing that proper credit is given to the authors.

To ensure its quality, the book currently undergoes a double peer-review process, in accordance with the Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content (GPRC) scheme, a standard used by ASP Editions, its Brussels-based publisher.

The making of the PERSONA Textbook

The research for developing the said integrated impact assessment method, ultimately to be presented in Border Control and New Technologies: Addressing Integrated Impact Assessment, has been led by the Brussels Laboratory for Data Protection & Privacy Impact Assessments (d.pia.lab) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and conducted collaboratively by the PERSONA consortium.

Building on its previously developed framework for impact assessment, the d.pia.lab had developed a method for impact assessment and subsequently operationalised it in a template. These served as a basis for the development of the integrated impact assessment method for border control technologies.

In the architecture of impact assessment, the framework concerns the policy for impact assessment, and defines and describes the conditions and principles thereof; the method organises the practice of impact assessment and defines the consecutive or iterative steps to be undertaken in order to carry out the assessment process; a template is a practical aid for the assessor. It takes the form of a schema to be completed following the given method. It structures the assessment process, guides the assessor through the process and, upon completion, serves as a final report from the process.

Kloza, D., Calvi, A., Casiraghi, S., Vazquez Maymir, S., Ioannidis, N., Tanas, A., & Van Dijk, N. (2020). Data protection impact assessment in the European Union: developing a template for a report from the assessment process. d.pia.lab Policy Brief, 2020(1), 1-52.,

The method was developed in 4 phases:
  1. Building upon the technical requirements of border control technologies (cf. Deliverable D1.2), and on the constraints to these technical requirements, in terms of social acceptance/acceptability, ethical principles, human rights law (especially privacy and data protection), as well as border management laws and practice, the PERSONA consortium defined a benchmark against which border control technologies have to be assessed (cf. Deliverable D1.3). 
  2. Tailoring down the generic method to the reality and needs of border control, and integrating personal data protection, privacy and ethics impact assessments with the component of social acceptance/acceptability, led to the first version of the PERSONA method for impact assessment (cf. Deliverable D3.1).
  3. The method was then tested through the three-partite ‘test studies’ (cf. Deliverables D4.1-D4.5) and stakeholders’ consultation via the PERSONA’s Community of Stakeholders (CoS). Test Studies A and B focused on exploring and validating the stakeholder involvement component of the method. The former, by surveying real travellers who were asked to assess a preselected setup of state-of-the-art border control technology. The latter, by investigating similar or alternative ways of stakeholder involvement using sister-project defined technology. In Test Studies C, under the supervision of VUB, the PERSONA end-users carried out the integrated assessment process on a border control technology of their choice, in accordance with the draft impact assessment method (cf. Deliverable D3.1) as operationalised in a tailored down template.
  4. The outcomes of the ‘test studies’, and particularly the challenges faced by end-users in carrying out the assessment process, were of crucial importance for the fine-tuning of the tailored down method and template (cf. Deliverable D3.2), as well as for defining the content of the book (cf. Deliverables D5.2 and D5.3)

This book tailors down the concept of impact assessment to the reality and needs of border technologies by integrating at least four societal concerns triggered by these technologies, namely, privacy, personal data protection, ethics and social acceptance. It offers an option of adding further ones and – at the same time – adjusting them to local contexts.

The book is organized into 7 chapters and 3 annexes. Chapter 2 opens the substance of the book by proposing an overall presentation of the concept of impact assessment. The Chapter aspires to be a general introduction of the meaning and means thereof that is applicable to any impact assessment challenge and that will be adaptable to the reality and needs of border control.

As the appraisal of consequences for the society requires a suppleness in the reading and interpreting of social values, Chapters 3-7 aim is to describe the components of the benchmark of integrated impact assessment, also including methodological indications aimed at supporting assessors and other border management actors.

These chapters are followed by 3 annexes containing supplementary information and tools for users of the book. These include, in Annex 1, a template for a report from the process of integrated impact assessment. Annexes 2-3 provide more specific, detail-oriented information meant to help impact assessors to carry out assessment processes. These include analytic inventories of stakeholder involvement techniques (Annex 2) and concrete assessment methods (Annex 3). The annexes are preceded a glossary of key terms used throughout the book.

In addition, the book also kinds copious references to academic and professional sources, the majority of which are in open access.

Table of content

  • J. Peter BURGESS and Dariusz KLOZA
The concept of impact assessment
  • Dariusz KLOZA, Niels VAN DIJK, Simone CASIRAGHI, Sergi VAZQUEZ MAYMIR and Alessia TANAS
  • Nikolaos IOANNIDIS
Personal data protection
  • Nikolaos IOANNIDIS
Ethics and border control technologies
  • Simone CASIRAGHI, J. Peter BURGESS and Kristoffer LIDÉN
Social acceptance and border control technologies
  • Simone CASIRAGHI, J. Peter BURGESS and Kristoffer LIDÉN
Border management (law) in the European Union
  • Alessandra CALVI
A template for a report from the process of integrated impact assessment on border control technologies
  • Dariusz KLOZA, Alessandra CALVI, Simone CASIRAGHI and Nikolaos IOANNIDIS
Inventory of stakeholder involvement techniques
  • Simone CASIRAGHI
Inventory of assessment techniques
  • Nikolaos IOANNIDIS