How do self-service kiosk systems accelerate EES border control processes?

13/06/19

In this interview, Michael Schwaiger, Senior Product Manager in the Homeland Security division of Germany's secunet gives us some background info about the biometric Entry/Exit System (EES), a new border control system will be introduced across the EU by 2021. He explains how and under which conditions self-service kiosk systems can help to achieve border control processes that are easy, intuitive and quick and what´s their approach in this context.

Tell us about secunet and what you're doing in the area of border control solutions?

secunet is a market leader in Germany and Europe for trusted, high-quality IT security solutions. Our Homeland Security division specialises in flexible, future-proof solutions for the comprehensive protection of electronic identity documents along with highly reliable and efficient border control. At the moment we support stakeholders at air, land and sea borders to prepare for the EU Entry / Exit System (EES) that will change the border control process at Europe's external borders as we know it. With our secunet border gears product portfolio we provide EES-ready turn-key solutions, such as eGates and biometric self-service kiosks. They will play a pivotal role in meeting requirements from the EES regulation as well as ensuring an efficient and secure border control infrastructure. The EES requires Third Country Nationals (TCN) to register biographic and biometric data (four fingerprints and high quality facial image) at the border when entering Schengen countries. Biometric self-service kiosks will be used to allow TCN to pre-register their data before heading to the border control booth. secunet's easykiosk is fully EES-compliant. It absorbs the additional efforts of EES and optimises passenger throughput, thus improves the speed of border control by a considerable margin.

 

 

Can you give us some background on the EES as well as the role of face recognition and image quality?

The European Commission is behind the EU Smart Borders initiative, which aims to increase the security of the EU's external border and make the border control process more efficient. As a result, a new border control system will be introduced across the EU by 2021, the Entry/Exit System (EES). This will centrally register and store the arrivals and departures of TCN at border control while the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will check visa-exempt travellers from third countries before they even cross the European border.

The EES will enable border guards to quickly access information, such as who has previously been refused entry. It will also provide travellers with details about the maximum length of their authorised stay. Plus, it will be used to calculate the legitimate duration of stay within the Schengen area and to automatically warn the national security authorities if a person has not left by the deadline.

The biometric data captured at the self-service kiosk or manual border control booth will be stored in the EES together with the identity data and other information taken from the travel document - altogether create the individual file for the traveler. Each time the traveler enters or exits the Schengen area, this data is recorded in the traveler's individual EES file. The now digitally stored information replaces the previous manual stamping procedure.

Under the terms of the EES regulations, during enrolment, a full 1:N will be conducted to deduplicate and check for misuse. Every falsely classified identity has to be manually checked by a border guard, so this could result in much higher processing times, longer queues and passenger frustration, unless the right systems are in place. Therefore the quality of biometric data at enrolment is a prerequisite for the usability of the data in the central system.

Because the EES will contain several hundred million TCN identities, the acquisition of high-quality facial images is essential. The EES regulations require compulsory compliance with ISO/IEC 19794-5:2011 for facial image capture. This means that each individual's image has to be taken face on with a height adjustable camera system at every border crossing point where TCNs are registered for EES. Self-service kiosks must support the respective capabilities to capture EES-compliant facial images. Diffuse lighting should be used to ensure the captured face is lit evenly and to avoid shadows and hot spots. Clear user guidance and process indicators are key in order to assure travellers hold their head up and look straight at the camera - while allowing them to experience this process easily, intuitively and quickly.

 

How are self-service kiosk protected from misuse and circumvention?

Self-service kiosks are a fast and accurate way of enrolling individuals into the system. But they are only as good as the people using them. The EES regulation requires the supervision of self-service kiosks by border guards in order to detect misuse and circumvention attempts. To effectively support border guards to meet this requirement, self-service kiosks should be equipped with supervision capabilities and presentation attack detection (PAD) functionality for both fingerprints and faces.

We have already considered this in the secunet easykiosk. The automated supervision mechanisms implemented in the kiosk system allow the border control official to monitor several self-service kiosks from one work station and to interact with the traveller if necessary. By combining self-service with support from an official, the whole process can be accelerated thus enabling border guards to focus their attention on the suspicious cases that require a further detailed inspection.

Although biometric systems generally enjoy high user acceptance, this cannot be taken for granted. Consequently, it is important that stakeholders continue to put considerable effort into rolling out PAD at border control points, particularly where self-service kiosks are in use, to ensure that presentation or spoof attacks - such as the use of photographs, videos, masks or fake fingers - are unsuccessful. Border control officers need immediate information about presentation attack attempts to be able to detect misuse and spoofing attacks. At self-service kiosks, key elements to ensuring attacks are prevented comprise advanced software algorithms to analyse attacks as well as sophisticated sensors for liveness detection - in the EES context specifically for fingerprint and facial images.

Find out more about secunet border control solutions on their website or visit them at stand P1 at Identity Week. EES-ready. Easy with secunet.

 

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