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UN migration agency introducing regional biometric data exchange solution

International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN’s migration agency, is working on introducing a biometric data exchange solution to help countries around the world effectively address irregular migration, according to a report by GovInsider.

Donato Colucci, senior regional immigration and border management specialist at the IOM, discussed Regional Biometric Data Exchange Solution (RBDES) earlier this month at Interpol World 2017.

The policy framework is designed to combat irregular migration, which can take the form of human trafficking and migrant smuggling, along with other transnational crimes.

Colucci said that RBDES will enable law enforcement agencies to rapidly and securely exchange biometrics data to verify the identities of travelers at borders, acting as “a network of people working in their own countries and interconnected through a web-based platform”.

However, the framework does not actually store any biometrics data, but merely allows the exchange of this data.

“[RBDES] is not the final solution to the problem, but definitely will support and facilitate exchange of information between countries,” Colucci said.

A briefing on this framework revealed that there are currently no available solutions that would facilitate the secure exchange of biometric data specifically for migration and border management purposes.

This framework could enable governments in Southeast Asia, in particular, address “the numbers of identity and travel document fraud that happen in this region”, Colucci said.

“Maybe the responses of the agencies [in this region] are not effective, so they may have addressed only some parts of the border management systems without addressing comprehensively,” Colucci said. “We may have a lot of technology but not capacity, or we may have capacity without technology.”

Colucci said that the IOM is currently in talks with seven countries, whose names remain confidential, to implement RBDES.

He said that international cooperation is a key factor for countries to improve their national migration and border management systems, and believes that technology can help in “quickly confirming the identity of someone that had their passport stolen”.

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