Data Driven Insight for Biometrics, Digital Identity & eIDs

Biometrics, Mobility, Digital Identity, ePassports, eIDs, Automated Border Control, eGates, Secure Documents...

Why is the European Commission looking to eGates and RT for Smart Borders?

Posted: October 30th, 2014 | Author:

Given the embrace and amazing success story of APC eGates, is the EC ” missing the boat” on expediting international airport passengers?

While the focus on eGates and Registered Traveler programs  is important, the experience in North America and now the Caribbean (see previous post on APC’s expansion) with the rapid roll-out of close to 1,000 APCs in a little over 2 years is beyond impressive.

Acuity estimates that there are currently about 1117 eGates installed at airports across the globe .  A number that is projected to grow to just 3,238 by the end of 2018 ( out of a total projected addressable market of a little more than 6,000 units). So after more than 10 years of tests , trials, and deployments, and another 4 years in to the future , the total number of will remain relatively modest.

Meanwhile, Acuity projects that APC Kiosks will grow to an installed base of over 8,000 units by 2018, after only 6 years on the market with a tail addressable market nearly twice that big.

How soon before the EC rallies that they can much more rapidly address their airport congestion problems with a simpler solution?

For more details on the future of airport based Automated Border Control, download a preview and purchase “The Global Automated Border Control Industry Report: Airport eGates and Kiosks“.

Filed under: Airport Security, Automated Border Control, Biometrics, ePassports, eVisas, Market Development, Market Research | No Comments »

Biometric Border Controls Crucial Post Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author:

Had Malaysia — the first country in the world to introduce a biometric ePassport and a leader in automated border control eGates — biometrically verified passengers against travel documents and visa databases, individuals traveling under illegitimate travel documents could have been identified before boarding the flight.

Had the Kula Lumpur International Airport required biometrics authentication for everyone with access to airplanes, investigators would have a reliable record of each individual who accessed the aircraft prior to take off.

These measures may not have prevented the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but they may very well prevent similar tragedies in the future.

While I would argue that the billions of dollars spent on biometric passports, visas, and automated border controls since 9/11 have made us safer, more must be done to make sure the biometric technology we have is actually used. Government agencies increasingly rely on biometrics to issue and validate passports and visas, and monitor border crossings on entry and exit. However, transitioning to a comprehensive biometric–based border management and aviation security system is a complex process that, unfortunately, takes time.

Acuity’s latest ABC  research indicates that 150 airports have some form of automated border control eGates or kiosks that either rely on ePassports or require separate biometric registration. This number will likely double over the next five years.

Acuity has previously reported that by the end of 2014, 110 countries will have issued more than 700 million biometric ePassports worldwide representing 83% of all those in circulation and that there will be 66 countries that require visa applicants to submit biometrics.

Currently, there are at least ten countries, including the US, that collect biometrics from all foreign visitors when they enter the country. While the US is reviving plans to integrate an exit program as well,  the EU is in the early stages of developing an integrated entry/exit program of their own.


Filed under: Airport Security, Automated Border Control, Biometrics, ePassports, eVisas, Market Development | No Comments »

Whose to Blame for UK Biometric Border Debacle?

Posted: November 9th, 2011 | Author:

The latest on the UK border debacle is a classic  case of “he said, she said”

UK border chief Brodie Clark quits over passport scandal with broadside against Theresa May

Brodie Clark, the senior civil servant at the heart of the scandal over relaxed passport checks, has made a direct attack on Theresa May, accusing the Home Secretary of misleading the public.

His resignation and attack on Mrs May escalates the most serious immigration row the Coalition has faced.

Over the summer, (Mrs May) secretly authorised border staff to stop checking biometric data in the passports of European arrivals at ports and airports. She says Mr Clark then defied her clear orders and extended the policy to non-Europeans.

Regardless of how this all washes out, whose at fault, and who actually takes the blame, the failure to complete biometric ePassport checks at the UK border is just bad news for biometrics at the border.

“Secure border” programs are consistently attacked  in many locations as  excessively expensive while providing minimal if any improvement in security. The  senstiive nature of  data related to these programs precludes most countries in most cases from releasing performance statistics. So, the only public relations are the fiasco stories aka the current UK border debacle feeding the fire of those with legitimate concerns about the cost benefit implications of identification programs.

Sadly, as we have seen many times in our industry, it is not the biometric or other identification technology that is at fault, but rather poorly designed, implemented, or managed ID programs that fail us.



Filed under: Airport Security, Automated Border Control, Biometrics, eIDs, ePassports | No Comments »

EU End to Passport Free Travel Big Boost for ABC?

Posted: May 13th, 2011 | Author:

The latest news form Europe is that passport free travel across the Schengen area may be a thing of the past.  In response to the influx of Arab spring’s  flood of refugees, “European interior ministers agree to ‘radical revision’ of Schengen amid fears of a flood of migrants from north Africa“.

The extremely scary part of this development is that it is being driven by a “resurgent Europhobic far right across the EU”.  Yikes.

In a serious blow to one of the cornerstones of a united, integrated Europe, EU interior ministers embarked on a radical revision of the passport-free travel regime known as the Schengen system to allow the 26 participating governments to restore border controls.

The border-free region embraces more than 400m people in 22 EU countries, as well as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. It extends from Portugal to Russia’s borders on the Baltic, and from Reykjavik to Turkey’s border with Greece.

The move to curb freedom of travel came as the extreme nationalist right, which is increasingly influencing policy across Europe, chalked up a notable victory in Denmark, which announced it would unilaterally re-erect controls on its borders with Germany and Sweden

So, while I am somewhat chilled by the motivation, it would seem Automated Border Control processes at air, land and sea ports for people, and personal and commercial vehicles will be critical to minimize the impact of these measures on cross border facilitation.

I would imagine (and hope) that some of this “Europhobic” hysteria will be tempered over the next few months and years, though in the short term it will likely provide a boost to the industry.

We must, however, be very careful as an industry NOT to be seen as a vehicle for the expression of right wing politics. The consequences of  becoming embroiled in the midst of an idealogical struggle will not only be detrimental to the industry but will be a major set back  for the work that has been done to  promote electronic identity as  a path to the preservation and even expansion of privacy and civil liberties.


Filed under: Airport Security, Automated Border Control, Biometrics, Document Readers, ePassports, Mobility | No Comments »

A Kodak Moment

Posted: May 4th, 2011 | Author:

In many ways the evolution of the  identity credential market is likely to mimic what transpired around the turn of the 21st century in the film photography market.

The decade started well enough for Eastman Kodak. In 2000 it clocked film revenues of $11 billion, had 70,000 employees and 14 factories around the world. Then things started going pear shaped. Come 2009, revenues from the sale of film had fallen to $1.3 billion, the workforce had dropped to 20,000 and the number of factories had gone down to one.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Data Driven Analysis, eIDs, ePassports, eVisas, National ID | No Comments »