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Intelligent Portable Border Control System

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - iBorderCtrl (Intelligent Portable Border Control System)

Période du rapport: 2018-03-01 au 2019-08-31

The main objective of iBorderCtrl was to contribute to the development of technologies that could speed up border crossing processes, while enhancing the security and confidence regarding border control checks. This was researched combining in one system state of the art technologies (from biometric verification to deception detection, document authentication and risk assessment). iBorderCtrl designed and tested a comprehensive system which would allow travelers to pre-register and operators to use portable units at land border crossing points: road, walkway, train stations.
The specific objectives were to investigate how the proposed solution could a) significantly increase the efficiency and security in terms of traveler throughput and fewer illegal crossings; b) reduce cost and time at the border by allowing the use of personal devices for travelers, and portable units for operators; c) introduce a pre-registration step to better inform travelers of their rights, the travel procedures, data collected as per EU and national legal requirements; d) increase scalability, reduce workload and subjective errors by human agents; e) increase the objective control with automated means that are non-invasive and non-time consuming; f) provide a more robust and efficient land border control platform.
The iBorderCtrl research system relied on the integration of a multitude of technical innovations, employing both existing and proven technologies and novel ones or with lower maturity, in order to empower border agents, improve the travelling experience of people wishing to enter the Schengen area by land borders, and increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks.
Beside the functionalities related to current border checks (check of travel document or validation of traveler identity) iBorderCtrl would offer additional ones and innovation provided by the modules that compose the system and the combinations between them. These modules used technologies at different stages of maturity and could be further developed or tested either individually or in combination. They include:
•Pre-arrival registration of travelers previous to their arrival at the border: the checks take place in advance, allowing for much more computationally expensive methods to be deployed
•Assessment of attempts by the travelers to deceive border agents regarding the data indicated during the pre-arrival registration (purpose of their trip, length of stay etc).
•Personalized Avatar agent: the avatar agent that performs the interview can be personalized to gender and language of the traveler
•Inclusion of new advanced biometric technologies: face matching and palm vein scanning
•Forecast of travelers flow at the border crossing points: statistics, trends and models help with better planning and resources allocation
•Analysis of historical data for border management improvement and identification of patterns of illicit border crossings
•Adaptive risk assessment of travelers: a multi-factor risk assessment, following a robust Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis methodology to support the decision-making of border guards
The iBorderCtrl solution was designed and developed taking into consideration the requirements, guidance and expertise of the 3 end-users participating in the project, namely the Hungarian, Latvian and Greek Border Control officers. These experts also evaluated the iBorderCtrl complete system and individual components in multiple versions at the beginning and at the end of the research pilots, during extensive piloting tests that took place in 3 countries and in two pilot test phases. During the pilots, the Border Guards and Managers were familiarised and actively involved with iBorderCtrl and provided their constructive input.
The work was successfully completed and validated the basic concept; the pilot evaluation and usability testing provided some very interesting and promising results of individual modules and their performance.
The exploitation potential of the aforementioned functionalities/ technologies is examined in the integrated border management context. The key factors for further development and commercialization of components (individually or in combination) researched by iBorderCtrl include:
• Assessment and analysis of legal and legislative implications and compliance
•Traveler Engagement through pre-registration: travelers having ownership on the process and transparency on their data to speed-up, lower the cost and improve the accuracy of border control, interact with border authorities and increase trust and acceptance of LEAs processes
•Integration with legacy databases: iBorderCtrl architecture is capable to integrate to existing legacy databases and tools such as EES, SIS, VIS2 databases.
The iBorderCtrl consortium has been actively promoting the project innovation since the very start of the project. Reaching high visibility would not be possible had it not been for a significant number of project publications. In addition, participation and presentation of iBorderCtrl prototypes at such renowned events as the World Congress on Computational Intelligence, the Security Research Event has led to the very good recognition of the iBorderCtrl among general public, scientific community, policy makers, and industry. The project during the second reporting period has been experiencing a major growth in the social media visitors/followers and project website visits. The consortium has been contacted by numerous press organizations in order to explain the innovations offered by iBorderCtrl, the prospect of their future implementation and possible collaborations.
The iBorderCtrl research system unified different interdisciplinary modules and converged into an overall system to speed up the procedure of crossing the borders especially for bona fide travelers. The key aspects were the utilization of a pre-registration step even before the traveler reaches the borders, the use of a wearable portable unit, and a centralized advanced analytics platform that controls the secure collection, flow and analyses of data that helps both increase the accuracy at the individual crossing level as well as prediction of events and resource utilization. During the whole procedure, the Risk Based Assessment Tool took advantage of the different steps/checks outcomes and also consumed any datasets being available, to finally classify travelers in terms of risk, thus supporting the decision-making of the border guard. Furthermore, the Integrated Border Control Analytics Tool enabled advanced post-hoc analytics that identified new patterns and knowledge allowing the iBorderCtrl system to adapt quickly to new situations and at the same time evaluate each module’s performance. The system was designed also to not only respect but improve transparency for travelers, respect their fundamental rights, ownership and control of their data, and quality and enjoyability of their border crossing experience.
It should be mentioned that iBorderCtrl already implements many of the features planned to be included in the EES and ETIAS Systems both proposed by the European Commission to enhance the border control check procedures. In addition, iBorderCtrl solution paves the way towards the interoperability of EU systems for security, border management as envisaged by the EC.