Global Counterterrorism Forum: New 'Terrorist Travel Initiative' to expand global biometric watchlists


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Global Counterterrorism Forum

New 'Terrorist Travel Initiative' to expand global biometric watchlists
3.10.18
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The USA and Morocco, acting as part of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), launched on 28 September the 'Terrorist Travel Initiative' designed to identify and address "potential weaknesses and gaps in a country’s capacity to watchlist, share information, and utilize that information for screening purposes."

According to a US State Department press release, "the Terrorist Travel Initiative will bring together national and local governments, law enforcement and border screening practitioners, and international organizations to share expertise on how to develop and implement effective counterterrorism watchlisting and screening tools."

Key amongst the methods for developing "watchlists" will be Advance Passenger Information (API, based on biographic data in individuals' passports or other travel documents), Passenger Name Record (PNR, based on information given to airlines or other commercial entities when booking airline tickets) and biometric data.

The initiative is designed to help implement UN Security Council Resolution 2396 of December 2017, which requires all UN Member States to develop systems for processing and analysing PNR, API and "fingerprints, photographs, facial recognition, and other relevant identifying biometric data."

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism, warned in January this year that the Resolution "could have serious consequences for civil liberties, human rights, and the rule of law worldwide."

According to the GCTF website:

"the Initiative will develop a set of Good Practices that can enable countries and organizations to build broader and more efficient watchlist and terrorist screening infrastructures. These Good Practices will serve a companion document to the GCTF Good Practices in the Area of Border Security and Management in the Context of Counterterrorism and Stemming the Flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters."

Sources

Good Practices in the Area of Border Security and Management in the Context of Counterterrorism and Stemming the Flow of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (pdf)

Launch Event of the GCTF Terrorist Travel Initiative (press release, US Department of State, link)

New: Interdicting Terrorist Travel (Global Counterterrorism Forum, link)

The UN Security Council, Global Watch Lists, Biometrics, and the Threat to the Rule of Law (Just Security, link) by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin

Background

PNR for all: UN Security Council mandates worldwide air travel surveillance and profiling, biometric collection, terrorist watchlists (Statewatch News Online, 8 January 2018)

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