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<nettime> Interim report: documenting racist controls with mapping softw
oli on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:04:11 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Interim report: documenting racist controls with mapping software

fyi, original to:


Interim report: documenting racist controls with mapping software.

On Monday, 6th of October, we started off with a media-activist action
to counter the EU-wide police actions known as "mos maiorum" [1]. We
published a web-based map on which people can report "racial profiling"
/ racist police controls in their cities. After one week of reporting
police checkpoints, we now want to sum up the project so far. The police
hunt of refugees throughout Schengen-Europe will continue until 26th of
October, and reporting will continue.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we received quite a lot of media attention [2],
especially on Twitter http://map.nadir.org made the news. Reports of
controls came floating in to the website, particularly from central and
southern Europe. Until now we have received over 200 reports from 9 of
the 25 countries participating. Interestingly, the "iron curtain"
remains a reality to some degree, since we got only few reports from
former Warsaw-Pact and now Schengen countries.

In some countries, other activist projects are taking place against "mos
maiorum". Thus,  we did not receive reports from there. This includes
Sweden, because people there operate a twitter-account ([3]) to make
public the racist controls. In Italy, there is a group collecting
reports via facebook ([4] ).

The diversity of languages poses well know problems of exclusion for
this map. Fortunately, some people reacted to our calls for translations
and are now actively supporting us by translating reports and news -
thank you so much for that!

The general media attention, with its addiction to news, declined
shortly after the start of "mos maiorum". Equally, less reports came in
at http://map.nadir.org. Hopefully this happened due to a decline of
police operations, but we account this much more to a decrease of interest.
We expect a rise of media attention towards the 26th, when "mos maiorum"
will finish. It is also likely that police operations will increase
within the next days even more, because a lowered media coverage is in
the interest of the police. The effects of past media coverages already
had an effect on the overall PR strategy of "mos maiorum": Frontex tried
to play down its role in "mos maiorum" on monday. A little later, the
Council of the European Union stated that this was an operation by the
Italian government.

The  EU has claimed that one goal of the police operations is to collect
information about migration routes and to acquire a more precise
knowledge where future police interventions would be effective. By
publishing the points of controls and feeding this information back onto
the streets, warning people and therefore possibly rerouting travellers,
we are happy to crisscross this information gathering project. This data
gathered now by police controls has a value for future racist
operations. A secondary power of this map therefore might have long
lasting effects by blurring the precision of the data acquired by the

So far, the map has successfully increased public knowledge about this
unprecedented effort in "racial profiling" by the European Union. And it
makes a difference: it demonstrates a bottom-up application of media
technologies. Whereas (critical) media coverage can not empower you to
take action yourself, the map project changes power relations and
empowers you to make visible what is supposed to be invisible. With that
at hands, the map is not only a (even if incomplete) documentation of a
massive racist operation, but opens the possibility to use the collected
information for localized actions on the grounds. This is what the map
could amount to: racist hot spot recognition system and a tool for
immediate counter-action.

For the first time we have set up such a mapping-software to visualize
and make public racist controls in the EU. It is an experiment which
still has a lot of room for improvement. But already now we can envision
the potential of such a tool, once it becomes a common media practice
for thousands of activists. As vice-magazine put it: if there are enough
reports about the police operation "mos maiorum", it eventually could
lead to the opposite effect, an exact documentation of police tactics
that show how the European police forces try to get hold of migration
movements. While documenting police actions is a brave citizen's normal
duty, we consider the map as a tool to engage with police on the ground,
to disturb this operation with protests that emerge all of a sudden. The
technology and information is now available. Antiracist movements:
please take over from here!

You can support this project in many ways:

- inform your communities about the map - both online and offline.
- submit reports. they are the teeth. ([5] available in En - Fr - Ger)
- help translating reports and news - contact mapmosmaiorum {AT} riseup.net (
) if you want to get connected
- donate money via bitcoin for hosting the website:
- take the news to the street and get active - protest against racist
police controls!

Map Mos Maiorum - http://map.nadir.org - mapmosmaiorum {AT} riseup.net

[1] http://www.statewatch.org/news/2014/oct/migrant-hunt.htm
[2] https://de.indymedia.org/node/2324
[3] https://twitter.com/REVASpotter
[4] https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Mos-Maiorum/1488808478039052
[5] http://map.nadir.org/ushahidi/page/index/1

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