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SMart mobILity at the European land borders

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SMILE (SMart mobILity at the European land borders)

Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-06-30

The current European Land Border control infrastructures are basically relying on sophisticated and costly systems where most functionalities such as identity control and flow management are carried out by stand-alone devices. This approach, while having worked well for several decades, is now seen as one of the major factors which contribute to the so-called “ossification” of the Land Border security infrastructure. Today’s reality is that Member States are confronted with difficulties in managing travellers’ flows at borders and in fulfilling the obligations set by the Schengen Borders Code , especially when dealing with third countries’ nationals. Border authorities and staff need to check the authenticity and validity of Passports and travel documents, the possession of a valid visa (where appropriate), the purpose and conditions of their intended stay, and the possible existence of an alert in the Schengen Information System . Increased people (and goods) mobility intensifies these problems , thus calling for continuous upgrades (or even replacement) of the existing identification, verification and cross-border management systems, at a much faster pace than their average lifetime.
In order to alleviate such issues and pave the way towards improved border management and control, the European Smart Border Initiative proposed the “smart border package” that is based on two cornerstones: i) the Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) for facilitating and speeding up border crossings for pre-vetted/pre-screened frequent travellers ('bona fide' travellers) and ii) the Entry/Exit System (EES) for recording the time and place of entry and exit, as well as for calculating the length of the authorised stay in an electronic way.
SMILE proposes a novel mobility concept that addresses the aforementioned challenges by designing, implementing and evaluating a prototype management architecture, for the accurate verification, monitoring and optimization of people’ flows at Land Border Infrastructures. It leverages the capabilities of the smart mobile devices in biometric control for secure and trusted authentication and elaborates on their exploitation as part of a multimodal biometric verification process that supplements/complements existing approaches. Furthermore, SMILE’s mobility concept builds upon Private Cloud Infrastructure technologies which communicate with remote SMILE handhelds through a secure gateway. SMILE ecosystem will target EU land borders which will be the beneficiaries of the proposed solutions. In fact, the proposed technology and business framework developed in SMILE will be validated through pan-European demonstrations in 3 BCPs. The operational properties of the technologies and overall solution will be validated and evaluated against cost, performance, effectiveness and usability indicators. BCPs participating in the project’s pilots will deploy and evaluate the solution at business as usual and emergency situations across various status operations. SMILE aims to (1) minimise the exposure of BCPs to security risks and threats, and (2) help them successfully respond to security incidents, while relieving them from all unnecessary and costly efforts of identifying, acquiring and using the appropriate technology.
During the first year of the project, the main objective was to design the over SMILE system architecture, to define the user and system requirements as well as the use cases and the pilot tests that will be performed in order to validate the proposed solution.
In order to achieve this, an extensive review of the existing technologies was performed, as well as visits to the two potential pilot sites (Romanian-Hungarian and Romanian-Bulgarian border crossing points, where the consortium had the chance to witness first-hand the problems that the Border Authorities are facing, and to talk with border guards in order to identify what they would expect to get from the SMILE project. Moreover, a survey using a questionnaire was launched, where the consortium reached a wide audience and received valuable feedback that assisted in identifying the necessary user requirements and use cases.
Additionally, a survey on existing EU legislation was performed, along with a legal evaluation of the proposed use cases and pilot scenarios. This led to the definition of the legal and policy requirements for the SMILE system. Finally, on the legal and ethical area, an Ethics manual and guidelines for the Border Control Authorities was derived.
On the technical level, a mobile device that will be used by SMILE system on the Border Crossing Points has been introduced. It’s a tabled, provided by IDEMIA, that is based on the previously existing MorphoTablet, that has been extended to be used within the SMILE concept. The tablet supports various biometric modalities, including face, fingerprints and iris recognition, as well as e-Passport reader. Moreover, individual biometrics modules have been developed to run on the aforementioned tablet, and a soft-biometrics module has been developed that will enhance the performance of traditional biometrics.
Finally, the initial design of the SMILE’s back-end system has been created, and developments of individual components/subsystems is on-going.
The SMILE project aims to evolve beyond the state of art in various areas:

Travellers’ registration
SMILE introduces the concept of pre-registration for land border crossings. Using the pre-registration SMILE application, a traveller (or a group of travellers) will be able to pre-input their information in the SMILE system, such as passport information, biometrics, border crossing point and time of arrival, vehicle information, VISA information (if applicable). This way, the information checking is performed offline, while the traveller(s) are travelling to the border crossing point, and when they arrive the checks have been performed, thus allowing them (provided that no alarms were raised) to cross the border with a very fast identity checking.

Multimodal & Multifactor biometrics
Multimodal biometrics will be used in order to enhance the recognition performance and avoid cases where a biometric could fail (e.g. the traveller’s finger is injured thus failing the fingerprint recognition). By relying on multiple biometric traits, the false rejection and the false acceptance rates will be significantly lowered.

Soft Biometrics for security enhancement, recognition boosting and group formation
Soft-biometrics will be introduced for enhancing the performance of hard biometric modules as well as to assist in group identification. Using soft-biometrics, SMILE system will be able to recognise groups of travellers and identify them faster and more reliable. The soft-biometrics traits that are currently being used are facial hair (moustache, beard), eyes colour, skin colour (ethnicity), gender, age group (child, adult, senior) and eyewear.

Security Mechanisms in SMILE infrastructure
Security is a very important aspect of SMILE project. In order to ensure data integrity and privacy, a set of security mechanisms will be used. Besides the common security elements, like encryption, vpn, user authentication, a secure element using a Photonic Physical Unclonable Function (pPuf) is introduced. The pPuf element, will be connected to the dedicated SMILE smart gateway, and provide un-replicable encryption keys between the various SMILE devices.
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