Looking at the big picture of e-identity

The author analyzes, why despite major improvements for identity management and border control processes through the introduction of e-passports in about 100 ICAO member states, the world still faces terrorist attacks on a regular basis. One major weapon of the terrorist - a falsified or genuine passport.

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As of May 2012, approximately  350 million e-passports have been issued, 90% of all states will issue e-passports by 2016. More than 13.000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in 2010, more than 15.000 the previous year. But there are also positive developments. In 2011, several EU Member States have successfully prevented attacks by Islamist terrorist groups. In 2010, 179 individuals were arrested.
Which areas do we need to tackle to achieve further improvements in the area of e-identity and border control, which – when done the right away – can prevent terrorism and organized crime by detecting fraudulent use of ID documents or even eliminating access and use of genuine and forged ID documents by criminals?
Major issues are

  • Lack of Evidence of Identity during registration, e.g. lack of security features in breeder documents
  • Lack of performing “Internal Work Packages”, e.g. insecure logistics and storage of blank e-passport booklets
  • Lack of inter-agency data sharing, e.g. use and share of information from of Advanced Passenger Information (API) or black lists

We need to look at the big picture of e-identity and identity management - from evidence of identity, secure e-ID documents and  issuing processes to the use of ICAO PKD and  forensic examination of travel documents for border control as well as interoperability of applications (e.g. watch list, API).

SDW speech

ICAO is working on e-identity issues from a big picture perspective. Current working papers in the ICAO ICBWG, such as “evidence of identity” and “9303 compliance scheme paper” are one step in the right direction. ICAO is the only institution for identity matters with a global reach. We need to support ICAO in achieving the necessary results to make this world a safer place.

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