Transforming Border Management with Mobile e-Passport Reader
by The SmartSense
With the proliferation of travellers’ border crossing and advancement in travel documents technology, border security are busier than ever where fast and secure verification and clearance becomes more essential.
The term ‘passport clearance’ generally brings to mind the vision of travellers queuing up in immigration counter waiting for the immigration officer to clear their passport. However, border controls entails much more than this. In both land and sea border control and management, the border control agents are responsible for wide areas of coverage up to even a few thousand miles!
Under such condition where travellers’ identification and documentation needs to be verified, a mobile e-Passport reader offers the unique opportunity and efficiency for the border control agent to carry out their duty right where they are, without requiring to bring any of the travellers on suspecting documents back to the base station for verification.
With swelling numbers of border crossing in many urban centers as well as remote areas, it is imperative for the government to consider how they can leverage on technology to enable the border control agents to work effectively in these remote areas. In addition, insufficient resources dedicated to border patrolling, coupled with shortcomings of verification devices is allowing hundred thousands of individuals to cross borders illegally or remain illegal in the country each year.
The Danger of Identity Theft
In the United States alone, there were a staggering 10 million reported victims of identity theft in 2008 (Javelin Strategy and Research, 2009). As disclosed in the ITRC Aftermath Study, 2004, it could take up to 2 years to rectify the damage from ID theft depending on the severity of the case. Globally, it has been estimated that businesses around the world lose US$221 billion a year due to ID theft. More than 35 million data records were compromised in corporate and government data breaches in 2008.
However, the danger of identity theft is far beyond the financial risks that these businesses and organizations are facing. More important applications such as border control, law enforcement, homeland security are all facing the threat of identity theft. Even with such advance border security infrastructure, terrorist and criminals are still crossing borders with forged passport, and most of the time, they manage to slip through these security agencies with a breeze.
In the case of the Dubai assassins that stole six UK citizen’s passport identification, how can they pass through the immigration with their passport checked and cleared? Would this security breach have happened if there were immigration officers who patroled and randomly checked the passport of suspicious travellers queuing up at the immigration counter? Wouldn’t having a mobile ePassport checking procedure heighten the border security?
Risk of Inefficient Border Management
In the recent International Civil Aviation (ICAO) Sixth Symposium in Montreal, Entrust Inc.’s President and CEO Bill Conner has mentioned that while most countries are doing great with the issuance of electronic passports, many of them are falling behind on the inspection of these documents. That’s precisely the point, when so much research and technology advancement has been incorporated in e-Passport technology; failing to inspect these documents properly would make all these efforts futile.
The battle with forged documentation has significant impacts on any country in the world. Forged travel documents are primary means for terrorist and other criminals to cross borders undetected.
The Solution To Heighten Security
At the crux of effective and reliable e-Passport identity management is the technology and methodology employed in performing identity authentication. With e-Passports now being considered the gold standard of travel documents that contains an electronic chip that enhances the passport’s current security features, the growth of ICAO compliant e-Passport adoption is expected to reach near universal levels of 84% of all passports issued by 2014, representing 77% of all passports in circulation by the beginning of 2015 (Acquity Market Intelligence, March 22, 2010).
Sixty countries, including the United States, France and the United Kingdom, are already issuing e-Passports. In a world where security needs are constantly changing, countries all over the world look to ICAO for trustworthy advice. With ongoing breakthroughs in technology, ‘on-the-spot’ e-Passport and Identity Card reading have become a real option. Many of the governments start to recognize the advantages of security and flexibility of using e-Passports. There is a constant need for security control at border crossings, traffic controls and on international trains or ships.
The challenge to effective border control and management is the ability to detect forged documents within minutes. This requires the human element of highly trained border agents to detect suspicious characters, as well as the capabilities of advance technology to verify travel documents and to have access to criminal databases.
PRADOTEC’s mobile e-Passport Reader – IPT500
The IPT500, a mobile e-Passport reader developed by PRADOTEC emerges as a key building block in the development of e-Passport infrastructure. It is developed with the vision of encompassing the functionalities of today’s e-Passport requirements and the flexibilities of expansion for tomorrow.
The IPT500 employs highly secured contact and contactless card reader with fingerprint biometrics technologies for security and authentication. The device is fully compliant with the latest ICAO standards on Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) travel documents. It also supports Basic Access Control (BAC), Extended Access Control (EAC), Active Authentication (AA) and Secure Object Data (SOD) processing as recommended by ICAO and required by many countries.
The competitive advantage of IPT500 is the built-in MRZ reader that is able to read the MRZ data in any environment, even when lights are not present; unlike the other products that use Camera to capture the MRZ Data for reading, which can only be done when there is enough light source and when the passport is held at a specific angle. For increased usability, contact smart card identification documents like personal ID and working permit cards are also supported.
Being a compact, all-in-one device, IPT500 has a built-in MRZ scanner for BAC, ISO14443 contactless reader, optical biometric fingerprint scanner as well as four ISO7816 contact card slot (1 card and 3 SAM). The device allows passport verification on the spot, and the multiple wireless communications including quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, 802.11b/g wireless LAN and Bluetooth enable data to be transferred back to the main server, to verify against suspects. Besides, officers can track the movement and location of the suspects using the GPS as additional evidence.
The capabilities of this device fulfills the globally growing needs for automated, fast, reliable and secure reading and verification of travel and identification documents in a mobile environment. Accompanied with advanced components, the devices verifies a number of optical and digital security features, reads MRZ printed on documents and data stored on chip, hence enables biometric verification of identity.
Enabling Swift Security In A Borderless Way
With the security concept revolutionized, passport verification is no longer bound by stationary location as cross border immigration checking is now more efficient, whereby Immigration officers can board the public vehicle for passport verification.
The portable function of the mobile e-Passport reader benefits the homeland security industry, police officers, immigration officers and military personnel to conduct identity checking anytime, anywhere. Now, marine police officers are able to conduct inspection on the crews’ travel documents of foreign vessels that have entered the country’s waters. Armed with the IPT500, the Marine officers will be able to verify the authenticity of the passport, and to compare it against the list of watch list.
Under such flexibility and capability of a mobile e-Passport reader, it is time for us to put it in good use. Border agents are able to halt border crossing with forged documentation instantly. Apart from remote area border crossing, the mobile e-Passport reader can be practically applied in many secured areas such as government buildings, large public areas such as bus stations, train stations, airports and even casinos where the genuine travel documentation, i.e. passport of a suspicious person can be crosschecked on-the-spot to ensure and preserve public safety in these places.
The mobile e-Passport reader is essential for increased security, for significant risk reduction for today’s environment, and tomorrow’s.
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