Border control | Finland is building an invisible wall on its border – “The fence construction is symbolic”

With the help of probes, drones and other devices, the border can be continuously monitored, device manufacturers say.

imagine, that for some reason you want to come from Russia to Finland without a permit.

An easy task, you might imagine. The border cuts through the forest in sparsely populated areas as a narrow rail. High fences, surveillance cameras and border guards are not visible. Just need to walk over.

So you walk. But soon a border guard appears next to you to ask why you have crossed the border in an unauthorized place.

Today surveillance is based more on wireless devices than border fences. The much-talked-about pieces of fence that are being erected now give a misleading impression.

“The fence structure is symbolic. A message that says that Finland works in some way,” says the assistant professor Anitta Kynsilehto From the Peace and Conflict Research Center of the University of Tampere, Tapri.

The nail file is studied the movement of people for example around the Mediterranean Sea.

Border control in the future, the focus will be on wireless and digital monitoring instead of fences.

The Border Guard actually already has both fixed and portable surveillance technology on the eastern border, says the head of the Border Guard's communications unit, Commander Kimmo Ahvonen.

However, the authorities do not disclose in more detail what kind of surveillance technology is in use.

Almost everyone nowadays carries cell phones and other devices that emit radio waves.

You get some indication of what kind of technology is coming to the border about the government's recent presentation to amend the Border Patrol Act. On the page of the Border Guard it is said that the construction works will last 3–4 years.

The background is that almost everyone nowadays carries mobile phones and other devices that emit radio waves.

According to the background information of the government's proposal, these devices, which are also used a lot by citizens, are relevant “in terms of maintaining border security”.

Off-road users use many kinds of applications as navigational aids, for example map browsers. Few people go into the forest anymore without a radio device.

In practice radio waves are used by all wireless devices, in addition to mobile phones, for example surveillance cameras, dog radars and drone control devices.

Radio waves are electromagnetic waves whose wavelength varies between millimeters and tens of thousands of kilometers. The frequency also varies a lot, from 30 hertz, or vibrations per second, to 3,000 gigahertz.

With the radar, the border guard detects the waves used by different devices, which tell about the location, direction and speed of the traveler.

Information about the content of the messages is also obtained by intelligence on radio signals, which armies have traditionally used to spy on each other.

Direct violence at the border only partially restrains the refugees.

But what if someone walks across the border without a cell phone and other devices that transmit radio waves?

It won't go unnoticed in the future either. The drone can silently observe the border line from the air. Its various cameras see the crosser both day and night.

The authorities keep the details of the detection technology a secret, but the device manufacturers are happy to present the technology.

Chinese company Jouav advertises drones that use cameras and thermal cameras to detect people moving in the terrain, even in the dark.

Face recognition also reveals the identity of the motorist if he has ended up in the registers, for example, due to previous attempts to cross.

From the past fences, which are increasingly being built in other parts of the world, will also become smarter.

One of the manufacturers is British OptaSensewhich supplies optical cables for border control.

According to the company, a cable hidden in the fence detects walkers three meters away from the fence. The sensors in the cable measure pressure, temperature and sound. It recognizes digging with a shovel from a meter away.

Some entrepreneurs get through even the toughest obstacles.

Modern ones the combination of border barriers looks like an impenetrable jungle. But will it be able to stem the flow of refugees?

“No can do. Development does not reduce the need to move,” says Kynsilehto.

A Swedish doctor who worked in poor countries Hans Rosling (1948–2017) reminded that the world, including Africa and the Middle East, has developed further than people in the north think.

For every method of detection and countermeasures, someone develops a counter-technology. An extremist organization in the Gaza Strip Hamas surprised Israel's high-tech border control.

Some methods were rudimentary, such as jamming radio traffic with a device that can be bought for less than a thousand euros. Another way was to destroy externally visible cameras and other surveillance devices by shooting and exploding.

Direct violence at the border only partially restrains the refugees. Indian border guards are killed hundreds of border crossers on the border of Bangladesh. Nevertheless, people still cross the border.

Eventually a person can break through a stone wall if he has a strong enough incentive. Some entrepreneurs get through even the toughest obstacles and even across the sea.

The Mediterranean can be more significant for Finland than the eastern border.

“Satellites and drones have been watching over the Mediterranean Sea for twenty years. Still, boat companies still come over every week,” says Kynsilehto.

Immigrants come despite the fact that in our time more than 50,000 entrepreneurs have drowned to the sea. Stays illegally in the territory of the European Union more than a million immigrants. There are in the US ten million.

Rich countries' attempts to close legal routes have also created effective crime in the industry. Human smuggling is a business worth billions of euros.

There are always officials who can be bribed and blackmailed. And companies for which newcomers qualify as cheap and unauthorized labor, such as European Commission website tell.

Cracks are also hitting the walls by actors on the opposite side, i.e. human rights, civil liberties and Defenders of the Geneva Refugee Convention. They help refugees.

In the end, market pressure affects. When goods and capital move across borders, it is difficult to lock people into pens indefinitely.

Last the experience with the Ukrainian refugees showed that the movement of even relatively large groups of people in a short time is also legally possible.

According to Kynsilehto, the countries of the European Union managed the flow of refugees from Ukraine “incredibly well”. The temporary protection directive has been applied in the situation.

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