19 May 2022
In 2019, Europol and Frontex set up the 'Future Group on Travel Intelligence' with aim of "identifying and elaborating new operational opportunities" by building on the data processing opportunities offered by the EU's 'interoperable' databases. The final report, published here alongside a wealth of preparatory documents, proposes a "European System for Traveller Screening", described as "a decentralised, yet EU-wide, screening function for travellers," which "could include AI technology".
See: Final Report Future Group on Travel Intelligence and Border Management (Council doc. 6767/22, LIMITE, 3 March 2022, pdf)
The report recommends the establishment of an "integrated border control model" drawing on the expertise and data available to law enforcement, border, customs and other agencies.
At one point the report notes that it is "not the objective... to provide justifications for reviewing or extending the access rights of certain authorities or communities to the various information systems," because:
"This issue can also be addressed from a perspective of working processes and inter-agency cooperation arrangements so that the competent authority is supported by multidisciplinary teams or task forces that jointly contribute not only with data, but also with expertise and context to the information collected."
Elsewhere, the report includes the following (emphasis added):
"Border management should also rely on automated targeting or screening systems for performing risk management on the travellers with advance information. It would be beneficial, from an operational perspective and for the purpose of assessing the risk of the individual traveller, if the targeting system were to include not only API, PNR, and Visa or ETIAS application data, and if the risk management were to include combinations of these data. The experiences of border authorities outside the EU have demonstrated the operational added value of this. This would require legislative changes and most likely the use of AI to combine those sources effectively. The use of strategic information and risk profiles across the steps of the travel continuum does not require any fundamental changes of legislation and should be actively encouraged."
The proposed next step is for the EU Innovation Hub for Internal Security, operated by Europol, to oversee a study:
"Frontex, Europol and eu-LISA could jointly sponsor an ESTS feasibility study under the framework of the EU Innovation Hub for this purpose. National, international and EU experts also from Commission, FRA and EDPS should be involved in conducting this study."
"It was suggested to keep the Future Group ‘alive’ as an expert network that could be consulted as and when needed on the practical implications of policy matters and for the sharing of best practices and experiences. The latter could go hand-in-hand with the initiation of operational partnerships between different types of competent authorities to strengthen the cooperation and to increase the sharing and exchange of information."
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