The Rise of Technologically-Enhanced Smart Borders

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The Rise of Technologically-Enhanced Smart Borders. Buy vpn private internet access
The Rise of Technologically-Enhanced Smart Borders. Buy vpn private internet access

In the early months of this year, a discreet rollout of CBP One, a mobile application by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, marked a significant step in the U.S.’s journey towards technologically enhanced border control. This app, designed to gather biometric details of individuals seeking asylum, is a fragment of a broader global trend intertwining biometrics with immigration processes creating the smart borders.

A wave of concern is swelling among various sectors over the escalating use of biometric surveillance. This concern isn’t confined to asylum seekers or immigrants; it has broader implications. Many travelers have encountered these so-called “smart borders” that accumulate extensive personal information through facial recognition, fingerprinting, and additional methods. Once you’re in the system, opting out isn’t straightforward, and the control over your data slips from your grasp.

The looming risk of persistent government tracking becomes a reality with the capability to monitor faces.

Understanding Smart Border Systems

‘Smart borders’ refer to sophisticated systems aiming to streamline and amplify border security using cutting-edge technologies such as biometrics and AI. These systems work in tandem with traditional methods like passports or identity cards.

In many international airports, you can witness these systems at work, scanning faces, fingerprints, or even irises of travelers.

Analyzing the Benefits and Drawbacks of Smart Borders

✓ Enhanced security, potentially leading to safer travel experiences.
✓ Reduced waiting times in airports.

✗ Increased risk of intrusive surveillance for those who submit biometric data.
✗ Indefinite storage of sensitive personal data.
✗ Doubts over the necessity and effectiveness of such technologies.
✗ Heightened risk of misidentification, particularly for people of color.

Global Overview of Smart Border Initiatives

Australia’s SmartGate System

Australia employs SmartGate, an automated border control mechanism administered by the Australian Border Force. It’s designed for travelers possessing ePassports from certain approved nations, who are over 16 years old.

Data Collected: Facial biometrics.

Eligibility for SmartGate: Travelers from a list of countries including Australia, the United States, various European countries, and others.

New Zealand’s eGate System

New Zealand, similar to its neighbor, utilizes SmartGate, known locally as eGate, operated by the New Zealand Customs Service.

Data Collected: Facial biometrics.

Eligibility for eGate: Travelers from New Zealand and select countries including the UK, the USA, and several Asian and European nations.

Canada’s CANPASS System

The Canadian Passenger Accelerated Service System (CANPASS), managed by the Canada Border Services Agency, caters to private and corporate aircraft returning to Canada.

Data Collected: Iris scans.

Eligibility for CANPASS: Travelers from Canada and the USA.

France’s PARAFE System

PARAFE, managed by France’s border police (DCPAF), facilitates automated border control.

Data Collected: Facial biometrics, with fingerprints used in some domestic travel scenarios.

Eligibility for PARAFE: Travelers holding EU or EEA ePassports from a range of European countries.

Hong Kong’s e-Channel System

Hong Kong’s Automated Passenger Clearance System, or e-Channel, operated by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, allows for automated entry using thumbprint verification.

Data Collected: Thumbprints.

Eligibility for e-Channel: Eligible travelers from Hong Kong, Macau, and several other countries including South Korea and Germany.

Italy’s eGate System

Italy’s eGate, managed by the Polizia di Frontiera, offers biometric-based border control.

Data Collected: Fingerprints for Italian citizens, if facial recognition fails.

Eligibility for eGate: Travelers from the EU and other select countries, including non-EU ePassport holders from various nations.

Japan’s J-BIS Biounit System

Japan employs the J-BIS Biounit across its airports to enhance entry procedures and monitor international criminal records.

Data Collected: Facial biometrics and fingerprints from both index fingers. Non-compliant foreigners may be denied entry.

Eligibility for J-BIS Biounit: All travelers entering Japan.

Singapore’s eIACS System

The enhanced-Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS) in Singapore, operated by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, offers expedited clearance.

Data Collected: Facial, iris, and fingerprint biometrics.

Eligibility for eIACS: Citizens of Singapore, permanent residents, and registered international travelers.

The United Kingdom’s ePassport System

The UK’s ePassport gate system, managed by the UK Border Force, expedites border control using biometric verification.

Data Collected: Facial biometrics.

Eligibility for ePassport: Travelers from the UK and select countries, including approved Registered Travelers service members with biometric passports.

The United States’ Global Entry Program

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program facilitates expedited entry into the United States.

Data Collected: Facial biometrics.

Eligibility for Global Entry: Travelers from Canada through NEXUS, Mexico through SENTRI, and various participating nations.

This exploration into the world of smart borders reveals the balance between efficiency and privacy concerns. The increasing reliance on biometric data in border security raises critical questions about personal privacy, data security, and the ethical implications of such surveillance.

As nations continue to implement and evolve these systems, it becomes imperative to assess and address these concerns, ensuring that the pursuit of security does not undermine fundamental rights and freedoms.

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Concerns include increased surveillance, indefinite storage of personal data, the risk of misidentification, and the broader implications for privacy and civil liberties.


Yes, many countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the USA, have implemented various smart border systems.