The current system of the surveillance of migrants relies on biometric capture. To be captured is to be codified into machine-readable representations. This paper merges technological codifications with political discourse to explore the disproportionate capturing of black migrants in the UK. Using the historical treatment of Nigerian migrants in the UK as an illustration, this paper interrogates how contemporary technologies are used to codify and confine black migrants. This paper explores works from digital artists – Keith Piper and Joy Buolamwini – to address this codification of blackness using biometric technology. It calls for new technological cultures of coding that centre the disruption of violent systems of capture. Failure is defined as this disruption of hegemonic systems of codification and capture that aim to subjugate black communities. This paper stresses that it is only when technologies of capture fail that black and migrant communities can truly experience digital freedom.
Based on fieldwork amongst Burundians in Rwanda, the Netherlands and Belgium, this article explores how information circulates transnationally in times of political and violent crisis and how ordinary members of the diaspora seek to manage these flows of information. Our main argument is that conflict in the homeland creates a massive flow of information across various digital platforms and that while members of the diaspora eagerly take part in consuming and sharing this information, they do so reticently. Rather than simply explore the information flows, their intensity, their ‘spread’ or their content, we explore how individuals in the diaspora engage in emotion work, as they struggle between being ‘hailed’ by the images and messages flowing with ever-increasing intensity, speed and urgency and their reticence towards getting too involved.