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IDA3: Making border control more efficient for authorities and safer for travelers
IDA3: Making border control more efficient for authorities and safer for travelers

by Soham Thorat and Daniel Zatkovic.

People want to travel. So do criminals.

People need to travel. For business. For pleasure. The world’s economies rely on travelers to stimulate their economies through tourist and business spending. It’s been a growing trend since… time immemorial. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects 16 billion worldwide airline passengers by 2050.

Unfortunately, criminal organizations also rely on travel. And on the illegal transport of drugs, guns, money and people. To do so, they make use of frictionless borders, counterfeit travel documents and sophisticated counterfeiting technologies.

Today’s efforts to address the growing volume of air passengers rely on biometric-centric solutions contained within automated border control systems (ABC). Current biometric algorithms obtain better results than they did in the past, but the desire to raise threshold settings on false-positives often comes up against the business realities of busy airports.
And while travel documents possess a host of sophisticated security features, authentication is often performed manually by a limited number of border security officers. The result: many travel documents pass through borders without having received a thorough examination. Security is pitted against time constraints placing society’s well-being at risk.

The number of un-examined travel documents continues to grow

These realities are leading the global border-security ecosystem to a potentially unmanageable situation: unless new methods, processes, or technologies come to the fore, the number of un-examined travel documents will continue to grow.

But improved optics and advanced algorithms have given rise to a new class of travel-document authentication technology called IDA3 (Identity Document Automated-Authentication-Alerting).

Paralleling advances in forensic ballistics examination, fingerprinting and DNA analysis, an IDA3 system should be able to do the following:

  • Automated multi-level authentication of large numbers of travel documents.
  • Identify patterns of use in mass-produced fraudulent travel documents.
  • Real-time travel document alerts to frontline border-control officers.

And IDA3 compliant system should be able to acquire high-resolution images of identity documents and compare those images to authentic passport specimens stored in a reference database. This comparison establishes whether the travel document is false, and the system should retain that information for intelligence-sharing purposes.

Automation ensures images are of uniform quality… and frees up personnel for the human aspects of border control

Reference images should be acquired under the most exacting conditions because uniform, standardized images are best-suited for comparison, and the possibility for human error is greatly reduced.

Process automation helps ensure the collected data is of uniform quality. An added bonus is that automation frees up time for the border-control officer to focus on the human aspects of border control. Expertise remains with the officer: IDA3 complements the officer’s training by helping to quickly identify counterfeits and then sharing this info seamlessly across borders via real-time alerts. This combination of “automation + skilled human” creates an efficient and robust system that improves with use.

IDA3 will revolutionize the border security industry

But to ensure IDA3 development is based on real data, and that further investment in the value of new technologies is validated by real users, support from government agencies is crucial to the IDA3 initiative. Aspects of IDA3 need to be tested by a variety of players along the travel entry/exit processing continuum, within border security, immigration, refugee, and citizenship entities. By adopting new strategies, new protocols—and the IDA3 standard—we can all make a difference in guarding, protecting, and preserving peaceful borders.

As with IBIN (INTERPOL Ballistic Information Network), a global platform for the collection, storage and correlation of ballistics data, we at Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology are poised to leverage our technology to revolutionize the border security industry.

We’ll be at SDW2019 showcasing our IDA3 technology and we hope to see you there. If you’d like to learn more about the challenges facing border security agencies and how IDA3 can provide solutions, I encourage you to download our whitepaper LEVERAGING FORENSIC INTELLIGENCE: Leading the technology race against identity theft, illegal immigration, and organized crime.

Soham Thorat is a Product Manager at Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology.

Daniel Zatkovic is Director, Global Market Development at Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology

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