This large project, emcompassing 14 partners and lasting for 4 years has addressed:
- To make border checks more flexible for passengers by enhancing the workflow and harmonizing the functionalities of border check automation
- Fully operational deployments facilitate the border crossing process for 3rd country passengers, while maintaining security at the border
- To update and integrate current ABC systems and to extend their use to second generation passports and citizens of third countries
- Assess the Feasibility of National Facilitation Programme (NFP) and Entry / Exit System (EES) concepts and other relevant technology
- Define the concept for the inclusion of Border Crossing Points (BCPs) into an Integrated Border Management System (both national and EU level)
- Assess and evaluate the compliance of the proposed processes with the legal requirements to protect fundamental rights, in particular the protection of personal data and with ethical principles.
In order to harmonize the ABC systems it is also needed the identification and design of a basic set of features to achieve a common user experience, involving ABC infrastructure, passenger verification processes, interface look and feel, signalling, etc.
Activities include an assessment of biometric technologies (facial and fingerprint) has been carried out in order to evaluate, optimize and harmonize the use of 2nd generation passports for passengers identification.
The state of the art research activities of the ABC4EU projects are also related to:
- New anti-spoofing techniques, for both fingerprint and facial biometric markers.
- The development of multimodal biometric fusion algorithms.
- The development of a cost-effective prototype, handheld device, possible to use inside trains and buses, while the Border Guard is in motion, covering all border scenarios.
Border Crossing Point (BCP) Test & Validation:
- ABC4EU addresses a two-step system validation: the upgraded ABC systems will be integrated with RTP and EES prototypes. Lessons learnt from this first step will be applied for a second and final testing.
- National Facilitation Programme (NFP) and Entry Exit System (EES) were specifically tested in the project to assess their feasibility from end user assessment (Border Guards) perspective in air, land and sea borders.
- Special attention was paid to Legal, Social and Ethical aspects in border crossings The research carried out in the project has to be compliance to the laws related to border controls in the European Union and totally respectful to the rights of the European and third country citizens, from the social and ethical point of view.
- The involvement of end users on the project was enhanced by:
- Meetings for End User Integration Groups (EUIG)
- An Active End-User community (EUC), consisting of the end user partners and the direct end user contacts of the other partners
- A progressive integration of End Users into EUC during the whole project duration.
People travel and migrate. International movement is on the rise and so are the numbers of border crossings each year, too. In 2011 alone, there were over 700 million border crossings, and estimates predict that there will be an 80 % increase by 2030. Border crossings should be made as smooth and rapid as possible for travellers without compromising security. This would benefit both states and passengers if the Border Control Processes were automated and harmonized, i.e. uniform across Europe.
During the last years, many ABC Gates have been deployed in the main European airports, most of them as pilot projects intended to test their capability to improve the border crossing processes in aspects such as speed, security, automation, false rejection reduction, etc. Experience gained from these pilots has been periodically assessed within the Frontex ABC Workshops, where the need for a harmonized approach has been specifically addressed as one of the most urgent issues to be solved. In particular, harmonization would be required in areas as e-passports management, biometrics, gate design, human interface, processes, PKD certificate exchange, signalling and interoperability. On the other hand, EU Smart Border Initiative adds a new approach to be considered in ABC development: The inclusion of a National Facilitation Programme system for Third Country Nationals and an Entry Exit System (EES).
In full alignment with 2016 proposal for Smart Borders (see https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/smart-borders_en), ABC4EU has developed and piloted EES, NFP, eGate and mobile border control solutions piloted at large scale in Spain, Portugal and Romania.
Atos has acquired extremely valuable direct integration expertise for a real-life scenario Piloted NFP, EES and Mobile system in real conditions with real Border Guards and real travellers at Madrid International Airport, Algeciras Port and Romanian-Bulgarian border. Atos has furthermore built a strong working relation with key players in borders management arena: technology providers, integrators, end-users (in particular Spanish National Police and Police Bodies from other EU countries).
Atos has a deep knowledge of Smart Borders package (EES and Schengen Borders Code Regulation) and EU-LISA pilots, Frontex guidelines as well as integration know-how with national law enforcement systems.
A major outcome developed by Atos is a Smart Borders Mobile System (SBMS) that follows the Smart Border EES and Schengen Border Code workflow for processing of short stay Third Country Nationals, EU/EEA/CH, & electronic Residence Permit travellers. It features:
- SBMS App with Front End Gateway for providing full integrated solution to back end national BG and central EU systems (SIS, VIS, EES, NFP, CES).
- Full EES & Schengen verification workflow: Third Country Nationals Visa Exempt / Visa Holder & EU Citizens.
- Open source Android OS and JMRTD (eMRTD) - ePassport, ICAO national eIDs, eRPs.
- Our solution has been field tested to read well passports from 19 EU countries (+Turkey, Ukraine, Macedonia), 2 Middle East countries (Iran, Azerbhaijan), 5 countries in America (US, Chile, Canada, Argentina, Brazil), 4 Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, China, Malaysia), 3 African countries (Morocco, Nigeria, Côte D’ivoire).
- Coppernic C-One eID mobile platform.
- Innovative left / right hand use swipe reader.
- FBI Certified FAP 30 LES Fingerprint sensor.
- NIST Pack ANSI/NIST-ITL 1-2011.
- Biometric fusion.
- Robust IP65 design with 10 hour battery life.
National Facilitation Programme (NFP) facilitates the automated crossing and border checks at external borders of the Schengen area of frequent, pre-screened and pre-vetted third-country travellers (like for Schengen citizens); together with the EES it improves management and control of travel flows and connects to EU VIS system. It is aimed at Third Country Nationals: both Visa Holders (MEV/D-Visa) & Exempt from Visa and Frequent travellers, Family members of EU citizens, Residence Permit Holders.
An Enrolment Station (ES) enables Border Guard enrolment of short stay TCNs in EES & NFP, deployable at consulates before travel or at Border Crossing Points.
Atos produced 3 layer SOA architecture design with 3rd party BMS/AFIS for the RTP biometrics integration, featuring a Front End Gateway design which is key for local integration to local country Border Guard access control and access to national and central EU DBs.
Logstash and Kibana system for real time event log monitoring and gathering metric data on facilitation e.g. Sent to second line event, border crossing times etc
Business value is generated by commercial opportunities with EU and National Law Enforcement bodies thanks to key Atos outcomes:
- Desktop client solution and server-side components for National Facilitation Programme and for enrolment in NFP and EES.
- Mobile client app integrated with COTS solution for portable border crossings checks implementation.
- Security expertise for end-to-end secure solutions.
The Atos SBMS solution and asset provides multiple benefits to enhance border security with convenience for Border Guards and Travellers:
- Provides traveller document and person verification anywhere anytime thanks to its mobility. It is designed in compliance with latest Smart Borders EU Package and is integrated with strong security features with border control national and EU backend systems for real-time checks.
- It is able to read ICAO ePassports of any generation, electronic Residence Permits and NFC-compatible eIDs with verification of chip and machine-readable zones to detect tampered documents, also sending to backend verification systems (e.g. Visa Information System) high quality capture of fingerprints in NIST package standard format.
- It’s a dedicated law enforcement & Border Guard tool, for one person operation with attention to usability. It displays all retrieved information about the person as well as results from law enforcement system checks and alerts (e.g. overstays for Entry-Exit System).
- Provides Border Guards with online national and central EU DB checks, but also supports offline mode when out of wireless coverage.
- Flexibility to be deployed for use on Trains, buses, ferries, cruise ships etc.
- Provides extra capacity at BCPs during peak periods.
- Travellers are able to remain in vehicles at land & sea borders as desired by both border guards (security) and travellers (user experience).
The National Facilitation Programme (NFP) service as per the revised Smart Border Package (Apr 2016) for facilitating frequent travellers (registered TCNs):
- Facilitates fully automated ABC border crossings for short stay TCNs: NFP Service removes a minute and a half of SBC Thorough Checks
- Aids BG resources to focus on unknown travellers (not pre-vetted)
- Proven to rely on traveller EES file to prove identity & cross border history
- Secure Front End GW architecture allowing national access control
Atos prototypes include measures to satisfy stringent data protection requirements in compliance with applicable regulatory framework and following ethical guidelines within ABC4EU consortium.