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EU calls for biometric-focused innovation to combat organized crime and border security

EU calls for biometric-focused innovation to combat organized crime and border security

The European Commission has published a call for several biometrics-focused proposals within the Horizon Europe Framework Programme, to support European security and identification methods.

The call for Modern biometrics used in forensic science and by police addresses the need for forensic tools to combat organized crime and smuggling, as biometric technologies can provide crucial support to forensic investigations and evidence for courts.

Projects’ results are expected to contribute to at least some of; use of modern, robust, validated, easy-to-use and reliable biometric technologies by forensic institutes and security practitioners to fight terrorism and other forms of serious and organized crime; the procedural differences in the creation of biometric information, improved support to policy-making on the use of biometric technologies by forensics institutes and police authorities, among others.

The projects should include biometric data protection and privacy, usage of biometrics in smartphones and other devices, including the possibility to unlock criminal’s devices using biometric data; exchange of biometric data and interoperability of the systems, among others. The deadline for submissions is 23 November 2021, and activities are expected to reach Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6-7 by the end of the project, according to the tender description on the EC’s website.

Crime scene investigations

The call of Improved crime scene investigations related to transfer, persistence and background abundance aims to better protect the EU and its citizens against Crime and Terrorism, bring improved prevention, investigation and mitigation of impacts of crime, including of new/emerging criminal modi operandi (such as those exploiting digitization and other technologies).

The projects’ results are expected to contribute to enhanced evidence collection on crime scene due to an increased use of novel technologies, improved shaping and tuning by security policy-makers of regulation on using innovative solutions; or identifying and deploying relevant security measures while inspecting, gathering and analyzing trace substances collected in complex crime scenes, among other possible contributions.

Two different types of developments are needed: ground truth datasets accessible to the scientific community to support interpretation at the activity level for biological traces, biometric traces; and methods of biological fluid identification for advanced forensic applications. The deadline for submissions is ​​23 November 2022, activities are expected to achieve TRL 7-8 by the end of the project.

Border facilitation

The call for Improved border checks for travel facilitation across external borders and improved experiences for both passengers and border authorities’ staff is aimed at ensuring strong European external borders including combating identity and document frauds and supporting the interoperability and performance of EU data exchange and analysis IT systems.

Projects under this tender are expected to contribute to: validation of innovative solutions for border crossing facilitation systems at European level for near-seamless and improved border crossing experience for travelers; and increased security and reliability of border checks, including identification of people and goods crossing external borders, with stronger protection of people’s fundamental rights and personal data.

The EC wants the research to advance authorities’ capabilities to capture and use travelers’ biometrics without them having to stop, and in natural contexts for border checks. The deadline for submissions is 23 November 2021 and activities are expected to achieve TRL 7-8 by the end of the project.

Enhanced identity document security

The call for Enhanced security of, and combating the frauds on, identity management and identity and travel documents aims to contribute to the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan 2021-2024 “Legitimate passengers and shipments travel more easily into the EU, while illicit trades, trafficking, piracy, terrorist and other criminal acts are prevented, due to improved air, land and sea border management and maritime security including better knowledge on social factors.”

Projects are expected to contribute to some or all of the following expected outcomes: Improved capabilities of border management and law enforcement practitioners to identify citizens and the use of identity and travel documents, Improved capabilities to defend identity and document/credential management against attacks to their security and attempts to falsify biometrics, identity thefts and online fraud, among others.

The EC also wants the research to address solutions for integrated secure identity creation, protection and management for increasingly digitalized borders. Deadline for submissions is 23 November 2022 and activities are expected to achieve TRL 7-8 by the end of the project.

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