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EAB expert sees long-term benefit to biometric border control in birth certificate standards

EAB expert sees long-term benefit to biometric border control in birth certificate standards

The effectiveness of biometric identity verification systems at European borders would improve over the long term if birth certificates were standardized, an expert representing the European Association for Biometrics (EAB) told a gathering of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Face morphing was also identified as a key challenge for biometric border controls.

Christoph Busch delivered a presentation on ‘Biometrics and Interconnectivity of Databases in the Context of Migration and Asylum’ during the EASO General Directors’ Immigration Services Conference and intergovernmental consultations.

The presentation began with overviews of the benefits of biometric authentication, the EAB and its position in support of facilitating free travel within the Schengen area. Busch then moved on to focus on external borders, and the challenges faced at them in attempting to implement biometric identity confirmation.

First among these is the need for biometric reference data, whether in the form of data held on an ID document like a passport, or in a central database. The reference data must comply with ISO/IEC 39794-1, -4 and -5 to comply with ICAO 9303, the standard for machine readable travel documents, for which scanners are required to be in place by the beginning of 2025.

In the longer term, personal ID documents may include digitized credentials.

Busch reviewed the updated standards for fingerprint biometric quality in NFIQ 2.0, which is used in requirements under the EU EES standards, and developments in touchless fingerprinting, which has seen an increase in demand due to COVID-19.

He moved on to explain biometric presentation attack detection (PAD) and the security of biometric capture devices, and the emerging challenge of face morphing.

‘Non-intentional attacks,’ like applying filters or alterations to ‘beautify’ images, can also reduce the accuracy of facial verification, and Busch shared research he conducted with colleagues into the extent of their impact.

Standardization for birth certificates defined by ISO/IEC, and the registrations of these credentials with a global institution like the United Nations, is identified as a long-term need for ensuring the effectiveness of border biometric checks.

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