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EAB roundtable to discuss biometrics in the future of Schengen travel

EAB roundtable to discuss biometrics in the future of Schengen travel

The European Association for Biometrics (EAB) is holding its Research Projects Conference from 13 to 15 September, culminating in a roundtable exploring issues on the use of biometrics technologies to facilitate free travel in the Schengen Area, on which the Association recently published a paper.

The panel and audience will discuss the current challenges to free travel, together with current and future technological and operational solutions to facilitate it, as well as the legal and societal implications of these tools.

The discussion will also provide an opportunity for countries to establish priorities for research that may address the use of biometric technologies for enabling frictionless travel.

The 90-minute session will see the participation of Els Kindt from KU Leuven, Ekaterina Komleva from Vision-Box, Gian Luca Marcialis from the University of Cagliari, Uwe Seidel from Bundeskriminalamt, and Emmanuel Wang from Idemia.

The event will be hosted by Farzin Deravi, Faculty Member at the University of Kent, School of Engineering and Digital Arts, and Marta Gomez-Barrero, Professor of Privacy and IT Security at Hochschule Ansbach.

EAB Travel Paper

The EAB recently published the paper ‘Facilitating Free Travel in the Schengen Area.’

The document examines various factors, including migration, terror threats, and the viral pandemic, that caused many EU member states to re-establish internal border controls or even close their borders.

It then prompts EU member states to voice their views regarding biometric technologies and services, and how they may be used to help with re-establishing open borders within the Schengen area while also mitigating any adverse effects.

The paper weighs the separate needs for security, open borders, and fundamental rights, together with legal constraints that any biometric solution must consider.

Issues of ethical and societal impact are also highlighted in the report, to make sure any biometric system deployed would not carry any demographic biases.

According to EAB, by utilizing a holistic approach it “may be possible to reach a more optimal trade-off with regards to open borders while maintaining a high level of security and protection of fundamental rights.”

The EAB report concludes by highlighting the Association’s role and that of the EU members in supporting this shift.

“The European Commission is encouraged to continue and expand its support for research and development in the field of biometric and privacy-enhancing technologies, industrial follow-ups, the adoption and deployment of ISO/IEC standards as well as its interaction with the European Association for Biometrics which continues to play an important role to foster a shared understanding of security and mobility challenges and their solutions.”

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