Guided Analytics: Paths to Threats in Big Data

 

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

In the age of big data, authorities tasked with border security have too much information to deal with, yet are responsible for quickly finding threats before they affect their country. Trained, experienced analysts are essential yet scarce resources. Training a new analyst is a process that spans months and years, and that requires significant investment on the part of the border security authority.

The answer to this has been to provide the analysts with ever more complex tools. These analytic systems provide the equivalent of a “workshop, materials, and tools” for a trained, seasoned, and practicing analyst who can then “build anything they want” from the available data.

These systems are consistently overwhelming for a new analyst, as they present huge amounts of data and palettes of analytics to choose from, usually with little supporting training or tutorials. Even for a trained analyst, knowing which analytics to use to answer a question is daunting – and leads to analysis paralysis.

We need a way to provide all analysts with a guided path to their objective while enabling advanced analysts to operate unguided based on their developed tradecraft.

GUIDED ANALYTICS

Systems developed with Guided Analytics focus on helping us get to our answers by giving us a clear set of starting points and then steering us toward our objective. We start with our objective, and the system helps choose the best tools for the job. To develop Guided Analytics, we must follow these principles:

Principles of Guided Analytics

Start with the objective, not the data

Set realistic limits and expectations

Automate a common path

Provide an off-ramp

Start with the objective, not the data

We interact with a system with a purpose in mind. It’s easy to lose that purpose when confronted with data – do we start with the traveler that matches our narcotrafficking profile, or the organization that they may belong to, or the address of the hotel they stayed at while in country? Guided Analytics lets us indicate our objective and then suggests data that helps meet that objective, rather than overloading us with hundreds of data points to connect.

Set realistic limits and expectations

Guided Analysis isn’t going to magically produce an answer in all cases. For a Guided Analytic to work, we must understand what it can and can’t do with the information available. For example, if we’re trying to establish a connection between travelers, a jihadist organization and prison radicalization, we will logically need intermediate data such as prison visitation records so that correlations can be made.

Automate a common path

Experienced analysts will develop tradecraft – ways of reliably getting from their question to an answer. We need to identify one of those paths to automate as a Guided Analytic. The best path is one which reliably produces an answer with data that we are likely to have. It’s best to reduce the number of options or customizations available to prevent confusion.

Provide an off -ramp

An experienced user may discover their own path to the objective, or even identify a completely new objective, while being guided. The system should provide a way to pursue this new objective, and if possible mark the point of departure so that the user can return to the guided path.

SECURIPORT’S ANALYTICS SUITE

Securiport’s analytics products were built on the principle of guided analytics.

For example, our Advance Passenger Information analytics suite provides tools designed for a minimally-trained user to investigate potential threats. An immigration authority can quickly react to an incoming person-of-interest in API data and meet their objective of investigating their travel history, companions, travel patterns, and global routes in a guided way. The system ensures that the user sees the important information first, without needing to navigate across pages of passengers and flights to nd the critical data. The system provides a step-wise common path of visualizations so that users aren’t overwhelmed with choices and are guided to next steps. A user, however, can choose to investigate the data in any order, or to change the focus of their investigation – and the system always provides a way back to any point in the investigation.

Even our advanced analyst portal – OctaneTM – was designed with the principles of guided analytics. With the ability to process, visualize, and explore millions of link-data entities, experienced analysts can build their case in limitless ways. However, OctaneTM provides guided analytics throughout the system, often in context of which entities are selected and which questions can be answered based on that selection. For example, “Shortest Path” analytics quickly answer the question “how are these two travelers connected?” or “Who else travels with these people?”

DETECTING AND STOPPING THREATS AT THE BORDER

Securiport’s Integrated Information Management System (IIMS) solutions provide threat detection, analysis, and decision support tools for of officials working across the border protection domain. From the immigration of officer to the threat expert to the intelligence analyst, Securiport’s tools enable layered defense across all areas of border security. This is The Science of Safer NationsTM.

The Importance of 10 Finger Capture During the Biometric Screening of Travelers

THE CHALLENGE

Border security officials across the globe are faced with the chaos from the recent mass exodus of refugees fleeing the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, further aggravated by the flow of migrants hoping to escape poverty in East Asia and Northern Africa. Terrorists and criminals have used this terrible crisis to their advantage, and are using refugees as cover to infiltrate Europe and commit acts of violence. Global security leaders are urgently seeking solutions to enhance safety and security by closely monitoring and analyzing passengers’ travel around the world. The issue of national security in regards to the efficient vetting of migrants has leap frogged to the forefront of political discussions and elections around the world. Global leaders need a solution that would allow them to effectively screen immigrants and travelers as they move from country to country.

In response to these crises, many countries are implementing enhanced biometric identification systems for arriving and departing travelers and migrants, with special focus on the automated reading and matching of fingerprints. While this measure has improved their ability to screen and record the passage of people, security officials are unable to identify which travelers may be potential threats without connecting these fingerprints to international criminal databases.

The key to success is consistent application of threat assessment approaches coupled with interoperability with international criminal identification databases. International security databases, such as Interpol’s Stolen & Lost Travel Document (SLTD) list, are checked regularly at most European airports, but the vast majority of developing nations perform no identity verification checks on travelers and migrants at their airports and border points. Likewise, many developing nations lack a consistent risk assessment and management approach, which can allow threats to circumvent security measures.

Additionally, many countries that do conduct security checks typically invest resources exclusively into the risk assessment of travelers as they enter the country, but are less stringent on those transiting or departing their country. To achieve more comprehensive global security, immigration officials need to implement and apply consistent, regular risk assessments of every traveler against international criminal databases at both departures and arrivals for real-time identification of potential security threats.

STRATEGIC SOLUTION

Securiport directly addresses this challenge with an innovative and cost-effective solution. Focusing on developing and improving our 10-Finger Capture, Segmentation, & Matching process allows us to help countries collect information that can be easily compared to international catalogs. By upgrading to ten-fingerprint capture, border security officials can create and maintain richer biometrics databases for exchanges and crosschecks with other intelligence agencies (i.e. Interpol, FBI, FSB, etc.) The use of an immigration control database system to look for possible connections to travelers helps track traveler movement, spot potential identity fraud, connect travelers to known associates, and prevent further criminal activity. These databases can likewise support local investigations, such as crosschecking latent fingerprints found on scene and with no matches found in a local forensic database.

The first step involves capture of the fingerprints. Securiport’s solutions are tailorable to collect any combination of fingers, with the goal of collecting all ten of new arrivals’ fingerprints to provide officials with more data for comparative searches. Securiport uses the best-of-market optical fingerprint scanners for primary capture to provide rapid capture. Securiport also offers its exclusive ultrasound bio- metric devices for particularly difficult captures or high-resolution secondary capture, as ultrasound devices are able to handle the presence of dirt, grease, or excessive wear on the fingers.

Segmentation, which divides the captured image into individual prints and checks for quality, is done with a combination of Securiport’s proprietary image processing algorithms and technology from our vendors and partners. This enables the fastest possible capture time while ensuring the quality necessary for the matching algorithms to work at peak efficiency and accuracy.

The final and most important step is matching. When checking against a ten-finger database, global security officials can compare prints from any known finger to the ten-finger collection records. Securiport integrates with best-of-breed Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) matching technologies, which can rapidly compare multiple fingerprints against the millions in archive, improving the speed and accuracy of the system, and increasing the chance of identifying a target in the database.

Our Capture, Segmentation, and Matching approach is tuned to provide a better traveler experience and improve security by expediting the risk assessment stage of the immigration process and simultaneously reducing wait times. Securiport’s state of the art optical technology provides this foundational improvement, but also lays the infrastructural groundwork to emerging technologies such as multi-spectral or over-the-air capture methods.

RESULTS & CONSEQUENCES

A rich, global, and varied vendor base has made high quality optical reading technology ubiquitous and readily available to security officials, enabling them to gather fingerprints and build up national databases worldwide. It is vitally important that international security officials work in tandem, sharing both information and technology, so that they can all access the same database(s) to identify potential security threats.

Implementing a screening system that uses Securiport’s Capture, Segmentation, & Matching approach that can re- cord all ten fingerprints of travelers as they enter and leave nations, and connecting those systems to international catalogues so that they can be compared to criminal and immigration databases around the world will enable security officials to identify and seize potential threats before acts of violence can be carried out. It will also stem the tide of criminal smuggling activity such as human and drug trafficking, which often fund terrorist organizations.

By collecting the right data, Securiport ensures complete- ness of information and interoperability with international databases, ensuring that potential security threats will be identified and prosecuted more rapidly, and national sovereignty and security will be maintained.

The Impetus for Changing Border Security Paradigms to Stem Trans-Regional Migration Crisis and Global Open Border Terrorism through an Innovative, Integrated Approach

The Challenge

Let’s face it: aviation, ground and maritime border security used to be one of the most fundamental pillars of every sovereign nation. Moreover, even during world wars and intense regional conflicts, governments could rely on an international system of checks and balances that was rooted in respecting each other’s sovereignty, access control, and a ‘hand shake’ in the form of a credentialed passport. But that has all changed with the confluence of recent transregional conflicts and abject poverty, which have displaced millions of people and precipitated a mass migration crisis.

The growing global border security crisis is being fueled by millions of refugees fleeing the horrific violence created by radical extremism in the region of Iraq and Syria, as well as migrants from Africa and Asia looking to escape extreme poverty by pouring into Europe. Borderless terrorism that respects no conventions, archaic security protocols that were designed post WWII, and the velocity of crises have created an urgent need to re-examine border control protocol.

Nothing exemplifies the urgent need for effective border security more than the recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels. Using displaced refugees as cover, radicalized extremists infiltrated Europe with the intent of committing acts of terrorism. The perpetrators, taking advantage of the EU’s open border policy, were able to slip back and forth across the entire continent without any hindrance or observation.

The challenge facing governments around the world, in both developed and developing nations, is determining what strategic solutions for border security will work as the threat of ‘Trojan horse terrorism’ and uncontrollable economic burdens continue to plague them. Worse, how can they achieve the humanitarian balance between securing the border and sustaining the values of free societies where citizens of democratic government and pluralistic societies thrive on diversity and respect for human rights?

The Strategic Solution

To address this strategic challenge in a time of increased globalization and aviation connectivity, criminal activity and the threats of attacks on aircrafts by terrorists remain a persistent and growing concern for our world. With the large number of passengers traveling through airports every day, it is critical that immigration and security checkpoints are equipped with the necessary and proper resources, infrastructure, and training needed to identify and uncover potential security risks and criminal activity.

Within the past decade there has been tremendous improvements in the technology, systems, and processes in place at airports to assist security personnel. However, many airports and nations have yet to make the transition to these more effective technologies, leaving their borders unprotected and unsecure.

Securiport, a global leader in the design and implementation of passenger biometric recognition, civil aviation security, immigration control systems, and intelligent information management and reporting software systems, is committed to the Science of Safer Nations.  Through the improvement of the capabilities and effectiveness of civil aviation security systems and processes, Securiport hopes to create more secure nations and borders to ultimately enhance international passenger safety.

As world leaders discuss various ideas and methods to address the cause of these many crises, one issue that every nation must invariably address is how to establish border security in the 21st century. While nations will undoubtedly formulate varied policies on the issue of immigration, global security leaders must implement technological solutions that incorporate and integrate the following three strategic imperatives that Securiport calls the, “New Border Security Paradigm for Effective Migrant Control”.

1. Utilization Of International Watch Lists, Interpol Databases, And Local Security Databases On A Real-Time Basis

The greatest hurdles currently facing the global security community are the inconsistency of risk assessment and the inaccessibility of international databases. While databases such as Interpol’s Stolen & Lost Travel Document (SLTD) list are regularly checked during the immigration process at most European airports, the majority of airports in developing nations around the world do not perform any data checks. The immigration systems in most countries typically conduct ad hock checks against watch lists and criminal databases long after a traveler has arrived or departed, if at all. Also, nations typically invest resources into the risk assessment of travelers arriving into their countries instead of paying concern to screening those departing. International security databases need to be made accessible to global security officers, and regular risk assessments of all travellers needs to be implemented consistently upon both departures and arrivals.

We must begin to use technology and systems for the real-time identification and assessment of individuals who potentially represent a security threat.

2. Fusion Of Advanced Biometrics, Identity Controls, & Predictive Analytics

While a few nations have begun to incorporate sophisticated biometric measures into their immigration control and migrant registration systems, many nations with little or no local resources still rely on primitive techniques and visual inspections to validate a traveller’s identity or to ascertain the authenticity of a travel document. The fact is that there are numerous false passports produced by criminal and terrorist organizations, alike.

Earlier this year, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed reports that the terrorist organization known as ISIS had acquired blank passports and at least one passport printing machine after taking over government offices in the Syrian city of Raqqa, and had begun producing fake passports with genuine materials. This gives ISIS the ability to print legitimate-looking Syrian passports, raising the possibility that individuals who potentially represent a security threat have entered Europe or the United States using forged passports. Consequently, the utilization of passport scanners, which authenticate a travel document by checking the document’s security features,  is inadequate. Similarly, the use of advanced biometrics on a stand-alone basis will not flag a potential person of interest. However, intelligent systems which combine biometric identity controls, travel document authentication, and structured database checks with predictive analytics raise the bar to 21st century standards and increase the likelihood of identifying members of terrorist and criminal organizations. Such predictive analytics, which are based on big data analytics of both structured and unstructured data through using behavior analysis, pattern recognition, and profiling, are being used by some countries with very positive results.

3. Cognitive Integration Of Global Best Practices With Culture-Specific Security

No matter how many high-tech biometrics systems, video surveillance cameras, facial recognition analytics, and physical access control gates are placed in airports and seaports, the most strategically important factor is understanding the local culture in the specific country of origin. While law enforcement and border security officers share the same mission everywhere, they are human beings first. They share and protect their own cultures and use their local logic in assessing, identifying, and dealing with security risks. They prioritize risk differently all over the world. This common gap in security perspectives often results in a hole that terrorists and criminals can exploit. For this reason, technical security solutions must be complemented by adapted local situational awareness, business process rules, and cultural considerations. No nation is alike. No government is alike. No threat assessment is alike.

Results & Consequences

In order to prevent the next Paris, the next San Bernardino, or next Brussels, global security leaders must adapt quickly to a new integrated migration control paradigm. When fused with comprehensive understanding of the local culture, business processes, and law enforcement training that respects local values, Securiport’s best-in-class biometrics and predictive risk assessment technologies will virtually eradicate security failures. However, if any one of the elements in this paradigm is absent, there will be transitional gaps that criminals and terrorist organizations will continue to exploit. By applying all three elements of Securiport’s border control paradigm, we are more likely to avert tragedies instead of looking back and asking what could have been done to be prevent them.

Improving Civil Aviation Security with Securiport’s Civil Aviation & Immigration Security Services

Section 1 – Introduction

The Civil Aviation industry has been around for over 100 years, since Tony Jannus piloted a plane across Tampa Bay, Florida on January 1st, 1914. Today, more than 3.3 billion people utilize aviation and take to the air each year [1]. Whether it’s for business or visiting family, the Civil Aviation industry has revolutionized the way people connect, interact and conduct business. This ability to bring people together from different parts of the globe, known as aviation connectivity, has been the catalyst for economic growth, connecting individuals from all over the globe ultimately fueling the global economy.

IATA’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler, spoke about aviation’s role in the global economy and stated “aviation is helping fuel the growth of the global economy. It brings people together – families, friends and business colleagues. It helps minds to meet and exchange ideas in forums. It gives people the freedom to be almost anywhere in just 24 hours. And it has turned our wonderfully big planet into a wonderfully small world of enormous and wonderful opportunities.”

The aviation industry is truly the lifeblood of the global economy; it supports over 58 million jobs and $2.4 trillion in annual economic activity [1]. It stimulates tourism, supports and creates jobs for farmers who sell fresh produce and flowers in world markets, and facilitates global supply chains to support collaboration among workers in different countries to build cars, airplanes and computers. Aviation helps deliver many of the real world goods that are traded in global markets and has been the catalyst for global economic and social development.

With the increase in popularity and usage of aviation, there has been a “transportation revolution” around the world, which has paved the way for rapid and free movement of people, commodities and services on a global scale [2]. This is known as globalization and provides many positives for our world, but regretfully has a negative side as well. Beyond any doubt, the emergence of terrorism as a global threat is the biggest challenge facing the Civil Aviation and security industries.

Terrorism has evolved into a major geopolitical factor, capable of causing systematic crises at a global scale. And by virtue of its functional significance and vulnerability, Civil Aviation is increasingly becoming the focus of the operational activity of different terrorist groups [2]. High taxes and a lack of resources and a proper infrastructure can hinder the performance and efficiency of Civil Aviation Security from identifying potential suspects and uncovering criminal activity. In addition to the threat of terrorism, aviation has been used as a hotbed for a plethora of other criminal activity, such as drug smuggling and passengers traveling under false names and documents. This makes it critical to take practical and necessary steps toward improving the security capabilities at international points of entry such as airports.

 

Section 2 – Solution: Securiport’s Civil Aviation and Immigration Security Services (CAISS)

With the increase in globalization and aviation connectivity, criminal activity and the threat of attacks on aircrafts by terrorists remain persistent and growing concerns for our world. Countries around the globe have a number of safeguards in place to prevent attacks against commercial aircrafts such as security checkpoints at airports where passengers and their carry-on items are screened for dangerous objects, such as weapons and explosives. Historically, however, screeners who operate checkpoints in the U.S. have had difficulty in detecting potentially dangerous situations, missing as many as 20% during tests [3].

With the large number of passengers traveling through airports every day, it is critical that immigration and security checkpoints are equipped with the proper resources and infrastructure needed to identify potential security risks and criminal activity. Countries should look to implement intelligent Civil Aviation solutions that utilize the latest technology, such as Securiport’s Civil Aviation and Immigration Security Services (CAISS).

Securiport, a global leader in the design and implementation of passenger biometric recognition, immigration control systems, and intelligent information management and reporting software systems, is committed to the Science of Safer Nations by empowering governments to enhance their Civil Aviation Security and combat criminal activity. Securiport’s Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS) is a comprehensive security solution that empowers border management and immigration officials. The IICS utilizes advanced biometric identification systems and provides proprietary intelligent information used to identify potential security risks and criminal activity, further strengthening the effectiveness of their security capabilities.

When coupled with Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management System, a methodology for cross-referencing passenger information across international traveler databases, such as INTERPOL’s I-24/7, the CAISS provides governments, airport security, and immigration officials with a comprehensive set of traveler data and information that can be used to confirm a passenger’s identity and uncover certain security risks. The CAISS also includes Watch-list Management, which crosschecks passenger information against multiple government databases and performs real-time identification checks. Implementing a solution such a Securiport’s CAISS, governments and airport security officials can drastically improve the performance and effectiveness of airport security checkpoints and better prevent terrorists and criminals from illegally entering or leaving their country’s borders.

Beyond increasing the performance and effectiveness of airport security checkpoints, countries and airliners can work together to strengthen Civil Aviation Security by improving the passenger experience. Earlier this year, Securiport was named a Strategic Partner to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and has been involved in discussions within program areas of expertise such as Security and Passenger Experience. As a contributing member of the Passenger Experience area of expertise, Securiport has focused on improving the passenger experience across 14 steps, including security and immigration processes.

Many key stakeholders within the Civil Aviation industry are very optimistic about mobile technology helping the industry to meet passengers’ expectations and to provide a more seamless experience going through security and immigration checkpoints. Having a better-defined process in place that incorporates modern technology and intelligent systems creates a more streamlined airport experience, and therefore will improve the capabilities and effectiveness of airport security checkpoints.

 

Section 3 – Benefits to Governments

Through implementing Securiport’s Civil Aviation and Immigration Security Services and other various security solutions, countries such as Honduras could benefit greatly. In recent months, the Government of the Republic of Honduras has been working to prevent and reduce human and narcotic traffickers as well as other criminals from illegally crossing its borders. Honduras and the U.S. held a High Level Security Dialogue to discuss ways the U.S. and Honduras can continue to work together to strengthen both countries’ borders. Honduras highlighted its notable successes over the past year, including the extradition of major drug traffickers to the United States and an impressive drop in the homicide rate. Honduras also outlined its strategy for countering threats like transnational organized crime and trafficking in persons and drugs [4].

By strengthening airport security capabilities and improving traveler safety, governments such as the Honduran government, can substantially decrease the amount of resources needed to monitor and deter criminals from illegally entering or leaving the country. To help accomplish this, Securiport provides a substantial investment in the technology, training, and processes for countries in regards to immigration and security. This ensures the security officials are equipped with the necessary knowledge and resources to improve their security capabilities with little to no investment from the country itself.

With the assistance of Securiport, implementing advanced solutions such as the Integrated Immigration Control System and Intelligent Information Management and Profiling, Honduras can substantially improve their border security and dismantle human smuggling networks and other criminal activity. Just last year, Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management Data Analytics enabled international authorities to interdict a Senegal-based human trafficking ring, resulting in numerous criminal arrests. In addition, Securiport’s IICS assisted in the identification and arrest of an individual traveling with a stolen passport, who belonged to a vast network of counterfeiters.

By leveraging these systems, countries such as Honduras will be able to equip themselves with the actionable data and necessary information needed to keep all of ports of entry secure. This creates safer and more secure nations.

 

Section 4 – Summary & Conclusion

In today’s interconnected world, Civil Aviation plays a powerful and impactful role in fueling the global economy. It has the power to bridge cultural gaps and bring people together from all over the world. But with great power, also comes great responsibility. It is up to governments and their countries to take proactive steps towards strengthening their Civil Aviation Security capabilities.

With the growing popularity and freedom to travel basically anywhere in the world with Civil Aviation, many individuals and criminal organizations are taking advantage of systems in place to conduct illegal activity such as smuggling narcotics, weapons, and even humans. In addition, Civil Aviation has increasingly become the focus of the operational activity of various terrorist organizations as a subject, rather than an implement, of their actions [2]. Due to these increased security risks, it is paramount that airports and security checkpoints are equipped with the necessary technology, resources, processes, systems, and training needed to effectively identify potential security risks and criminal activity.

Securiport’s Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS) can help countries, such as Honduras, strengthen their airport security capabilities. By implementing an intelligent solution that utilizes the most advanced technologies (such as biometric identification systems), and is connected with international traveler databases, security officials are provided a comprehensive set of traveler data and information that can be used to confirm a passenger’s identity and uncover certain security risks.

By leveraging these systems, government officials and immigration officers will be able to equip themselves with the actionable data and necessary information needed to keep all ports of entry secure, ultimately creating safer and more secure nations. This creates a complete Civil Aviation Security solution, one that elicits safer travels, more secure nations and is tailored to provide benefits to both travelers and governments.

 

References:

  1. http://www.iata.org/pressroom/speeches/Pages/2014-10-14-01.aspx
  2. http://www.comw.org/tct/fulltext/0503arasly.pdf
  3. http://www.gao.gov/assets/160/156968.pdf
  4. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/01/235867.htm

eVisa Solutions Provide a Faster, Smarter, Safer Way To Travel, Benefitting Tourism and Local Economies

Section 1 – Introduction to Visa Challenges

A visa is an official mark or stamp on a passport that allows someone to enter or leave a country usually for a particular reason [1]. Historically, immigration officials would grant a visa when a visitor arrived in a foreign country, but today, a traveler wishing to enter another country must apply for a visa in advance. This causes numerous challenges for both civilians and government officials all over the world.

The first obvious disadvantage of applying for or issuing a visa is the time required to process the application. Under normal circumstances, a traveler seeking to apply for a visa would need to fill out the necessary paperwork and then either mail or hand deliver the paperwork to the desired nation’s local embassy or consulate. After this time-consuming procedure, the embassy will process the documents and then mail the visa back to the applicant if approved. As a result, the life cycle of receiving a visa could take anywhere from two weeks to two months. This can be very costly and time consuming for immigration officials and can cause problems if a traveler needs to apply for a visa last minute.

Another obstacle travelers and officials face is the lack of infrastructure and personnel available. Many developing nations are simply not equipped with the proper personnel, technology and infrastructure needed to issue these documents in a timely and efficient manner without compromising safety or security. Long queues build up at immigration desks at airports, embassies and consulates, further increasing the document process time. This increased workload for the immigration staff can hinder their ability to work efficiently and securely.

Governments should look to improve their immigration processes, starting with the system for issuing visas. Many of the challenges caused by the visa application process can be overcome by simply transitioning to an electronic visa system, which streamlines the process and ensures accountability for both governments and travelers. By transitioning to an electronic visa system, governments will improve and ease the process of applying for a visa, which can lead to a multitude of benefits for the country.

For example, a country such as Honduras could benefit greatly from implementing an electronic visa system. Honduras, located in Central America, is home to some of the world’s best beaches, coral reefs and diving locations in addition to the world famous Mayan city of Copan and Rio Platano Biosphere. These attractions make Honduras a great location for travelers who wish to experience the wonders of Central America. However, the long process for applying for a visa can be a major deterrent to tourism in the country. Just recently, the Honduran government has made tourism a national priority, believing that the tourism industry will not only benefit the country by stimulating the economy, but also by strengthening the national identity, increasing development and providing Hondurans with a higher standard of living.

By implementing an electronic visa system, like Securiport’s eVisa Management System, countries, such as Honduras, could save time and money by operating more efficiently to improve the way they communicate and engage with citizens. By addressing key challenges and streamlining the process it takes to apply and receive a visa, the number of total visa applications and number of visitors will inevitably increase, improving revenue generated from tourism. Government officials, business travelers, and tourists alike will benefit from a more convenient and efficient visa application process.

 

Section 2 – Features and Benefits of the eVisa System

Securiport’s eVisa Management System is a modern, comprehensive ICAO-compliant system that provides travelers with a quick, convenient and completely secure way to apply for a visa. It can be easily integrated and deployed to preexisting visa procedures and systems such as national centers and consulates, providing immediate support to immigration officials.

Securiport’s software engineers and cyber security professionals have invested a substantial amount of time and resources into developing an absolutely secure system. When dealing with such sensitive information, it is imperative that proper research and precautions regarding security are taken. Securiport’s advanced proprietary systems and superior cyber security methods ensure that both travelers and government officials can use the eVisa Management System with full confidence.

The system provides travelers with a secure application portal, which can be accessed at any time of day from virtually anywhere in the world via a web browser. This innovative system provides a multitude of benefits for both travelers and governments by providing an alternate method of applying for a visa. Not only does this new, virtual application method save government officials time and money by decreasing employee workloads and reducing lines at consulates and embassies, but it allows travelers to apply for a visa up to one day before travelling. This timeframe is a massive improvement over the current, erratic method that could leave travelers waiting two months for a visa. There are many different circumstances in which someone may need to travel without an extended notice, and this new system will allow travelers to do so with ease. The eVisa system also provides travelers with an alternate application method if they are unable to mail in or hand deliver their application to the appropriate consulate or embassy.

The eVisa Management System utilizes Securiport’s secure application portal, which can be accessed from any browser-based system. This includes, but is not limited to: computers, tablets, smart phones and kiosks conveniently located at consulates, embassies and immigration checkpoints. The system includes real-time background checks and watch-list vetting against national security and INTERPOL databases for all applicants and leverages Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management System (IIMS), which creates intelligent information reports based on traveler information and statistical data. The system is linked to a central visa database through a secure Internet connection and provides governments and immigration officials with the proper data and information needed to confirm a traveler’s identity with confidence at each stage of the immigration process.

The eVisa Management System also pairs perfectly with Securiport’s Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS), which empowers border management and immigration officers by utilizing advanced biometric identification systems and providing proprietary intelligent information used to identify potential security risks and criminal activity. This can be very beneficial for countries such as Honduras, who are working towards improving the country’s tourism. By integrating these advanced security solutions, countries will be communicating to the world that they are taking an active role in enhancing traveler safety by investing into advanced security solutions for immigration ports.

Securiport’s eVisa Management System is more timely, cost-effective, and efficient than the current application process. By saving travelers’ time and eliminating many of the hassles associated with obtaining a visa today, the system streamlines the visa application process, and inevitably increases the amount of visitors to countries, helping international business and boosting local economies.

 

Section 3 – Details and Applications of eVisa Technology

Securiport’s eVisa Management System provides travelers with a web-based application portal that offers a quick, convenient, and secure way to apply for a visa. The system can be easily integrated and deployed to preexisting visa procedures and systems such as national centers and consulates. The traveler’s sole task is to fill out the application and submit a payment. Once an application and payment have been submitted, the applicant’s information is submitted to the IICS for background validation and vetted against IIMS Profiles to detect a Person of Interest. The applicant is compared against local watch lists, INTERPOL Notices and Stolen & Lost Travel Documents, as well as all previous traveler data.

Once the applicant’s information has been processed and crosschecked, they will receive a notification depending on whether the application was approved or rejected. If the application is approved, an attachment will be sent with the notification that must be shown on arrival. On arrival, the Immigration Workstation Application provides the immigration official with an extremely easy-to-use interface to process the traveler. The immigration official scans the barcode of the attachment, which is then sent to the server for validation. If successfully validated, the immigration official will continue the immigration process and begin to capture the traveler’s biometric information. The biometrics are stored with the traveler’s visa and immigration record and are validated when the travelers enter or leave the country. All of the traveler data and information collected is stored securely in Securiport’s IICS servers.

Travelers who arrive to a country without a visa can utilize either the automated eVisa kiosks or the eVisa Application that is integrated with the Immigration Workstation Application to submit their information, biometrics and payment. All the information submitted is sent to the IICS and IIMS servers for validation and once complete, the approved visa is printed and the traveler is directed to immigration processing.

eVisa applications can also be configured to be manually approved or rejected. Once the background validation has been completed, the application is ready for manual approval or rejection via the Visa Review Application. If approved, a notification is sent to the traveler with an attachment for them to provide on arrival. If the application is rejected, a notification is sent to the traveler informing them a visa cannot be issued and to contact the embassy or consulate for guidance. If more information is needed, a notification is sent to the traveler requesting them to update their application with the specific information needed.

 

Section 4 – Strategic Benefits to Governments

With an increase in the demand for international travel in our evolving global marketplace, it is necessary to have an efficient and effective system that simplifies the visa application process. Utilizing an eVisa system such as Securiport’s eVisa Management System, governments can prevent excessive hours waiting at visa desks, reduce the workload of staff working at airports, embassies and consulates, and provide easier facilitation for tourists and business travelers. By reducing the time and money it takes to apply for and issue visas, governments can only expect to see an increase in visa applications as well as the number of visitors, tourism and foreign trade revenue.

Just recently, the Turkish government launched an e-Visa application system similar to Securiport’s eVisa Management System. Just weeks after implementing the e-Visa system, the Turkish government saw an increase in visa applications, going from a weekly average of 400 applications to receiving more than 1,500 in just a few days [2]. The Turkish government hopes to develop and improve Turkey’s tourism and increase foreign trade with this eVisa reformation.

By utilizing Securiport’s eVisa Management System that leverages their Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS) and Intelligent Information Management System (IIMS), governments and immigration officials can equip themselves with the actionable data and information needed to confirm a traveler’s identity at ports of entry and exit as well as at each stage of the immigration process. And with dynamic configurations, government officials can issue and manage any number of visa types required by their country.

 

Section 5 – Summary and Conclusion

Governments can derive great benefit from updating visa and immigration processes to leverage new technology that provides enhanced security and improved efficiency. Currently, the visa application process takes time, money and a high workload of the staff at airports, immigration checkpoints, embassies and consulates. Additionally, the time constraints of the current application process create multiple challenges and roadblocks for travelers who may need to apply for a visa very quickly.

Securiport’s eVisa Management System can help governments, such as Honduras, better serve citizens and solve these challenges. By transitioning to an eVisa Management System, governments will be able to provide travelers with a quick and convenient way to apply for a visa and initiate their travel to the country while ensuring absolute security of sensitive information. By simplifying the visa application process, governments can expect the volume of visa applications and visitors will inevitably increase, further increasing the revenue generated from tourism. In addition, by implementing these advanced security solutions, governments will be showcasing to the rest of the world that they are invested in improving their security and immigration processes.

With the ability to seamlessly integrate with preexisting visa procedures or systems, as well as Securiport’s Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS), the eVisa Management System provides governments and immigration officials with the necessary traveler data and information needed to confirm the traveler’s identity throughout the immigration process. This innovative system creates safer travels and a more secure nation that when coupled with Securiport’s IICS and IIMS; provide a complete immigration control system that is tailored to provide benefits to both travelers and governments.

References

  1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/visa
  2. http://www.todayszaman.com/diplomacy_in-a-visionary-move-turkey-launches-e-visa-for-foreigners_313604.html
  3. http://www.securiport.com/solutions/evisa-management-system/
  4. http://www.securiport.com/solutions/intelligent-information-management-and-profiling/
  5. http://www.securiport.com/solutions/integrated-immigration-control-system/
  6. http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/ST.INT.ARVL/rankings

Outsmart the Outbreak: Leveraging Intelligent Epidemic Control Systems to Mitigate the Spread of Infectious Disease in Honduras

Introduction

Honduras, located in Central America, is the second poorest country in Central America [1] and is considered to have a high degree of risk of major infectious diseases. Recent hurricanes and tropical storm destruction, devastating an already weak Honduras public infrastructure, has increased the potential for infectious disease transmission throughout the country [2]. Due to a pervasive mosquito population, Hondurans are at significant risk of acquiring incapacitating mosquito-borne diseases [2].

In recent years, Hondurans have been faced with multiple epidemics, including the recent outbreak in 2013 of Dengue Fever, Malaria, Yellow Fever, Plague and Encephalitis [3]. These transmittable, vector-borne diseases (acquired through the bite of an infected insect or tick), have proved to be devastating to the Honduran people. According to Global Communities, although Honduras makes up only 17% of Central America’s population, it is home to 40% of the region’s malaria cases. And the majority of these reported cases are concentrated in specific areas of Honduras like Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Choluteca, Juticalpa and Comayagua [4].

The death rate for a majority of the diseases prevalent in Honduras can be reduced with an early diagnosis and appropriate care. However, the Honduran government and international aid organizations face considerable challenges in providing the necessary aid and support to combat these infectious diseases and mitigate the spread to other areas and countries. Often, infrastructure limitations such as lack of access to medical supplies, lack of access to clean water and geographical challenges prohibit many Honduran people from accessing timely and adequate treatment [5].

Honduras needs a solution that addresses these issues. Government officials need to be equipped with the proper data and information so that they can make timely decisions that mitigate the spread of a disease and it’s impact on the country as a whole. Knowing where an infected person has been, where they are going or what and whom they’ve come into contact with can be vital information to help treat and control the spread of an infectious disease.

Epidemic Control Systems (ECS), like Securiport’s specialized proprietary software, provides unique tools specifically aimed to curb the spread of an infectious disease by identifying possible carriers of the disease. Securiport’s ECS can provide immediate benefits to health management agencies, institutions and governmental authorities by providing common data collection, circle monitoring and link analysis. This whitepaper will go into detail on how an Epidemic Control System, like Securiport’s, can be highly effective at mitigating the impact and spread of an infectious disease.

History and Impact of Epidemic Crises in Honduras

Due to the environmental and geographical conditions of Honduras, Hondurans are faced with the possibility of contracting multiple infectious diseases. Environmental factors such as sewage, agriculture and industrial contamination of water and food supplies and localized air pollution pose a significant health risks. The pervasive mosquito population, coupled with hurricanes, tropical storms and extreme rainy seasons, significantly increases the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever and Malaria.

The risk of Dengue Fever is highest in urban environments and is increased in the rainy months. It is a viral disease associated with urban areas and manifests as sudden onset of fever and severe headache. The disease will occasionally produce shock and hemorrhage leading to death in 5% of cases [7].

Just last summer, Honduras’ Health Minister, Salvador Pineda, declared a state of emergency due to a massive outbreak of Dengue Fever. The number of Dengue Fever cases in Honduras tripled compared to the number of cases from the year before [6]. As the country struggled following political instability and gang violence, the Honduran government did not have the capacity to combat the disease without international aid [6]. It was critical for Honduras to not only receive support with treating the disease, but also to implement measures that could halt the rapid transmission of this deadly epidemic before it spread and potentially claimed more lives.

Malaria has also been a prevalent infectious disease in Honduras. Transmitted through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, parasites multiply in the liver attacking red blood cells resulting in cycles of fever, chills and sweats accompanied by anemia. Death is usually caused due to damage to vital organs and interruption of blood supply to the brain [7]. According to Global Communities, although Honduras makes up only 17% of Central America’s population, it is home to 40% of the region’s malaria cases [2]. The majority of Malaria cases and the highest risk to contract Malaria in Honduras occur in rural areas in the northern coastal lowlands and along the border with Nicaragua.

Improving Honduras’ infrastructure, especially along the border region will allow the country as a whole to improve infectious disease treatment and diagnostic services in rural areas, streamline national disease standards, and establish risk mapping services and information systems to disseminate critical prevalence data throughout the country [4].

Solution: Epidemic Control Systems

Securiport’s proprietary solution, the Epidemic Control System (ECS), is designed to operate within their Integrated Immigration Control System (IICS), and provides unique tools specifically aimed to identify possible carriers of an infectious disease and to control the spread of the disease.

Securiport’s ECS can provide immediate benefits to health management agencies, institutions and governmental bodies by enabling more effective contact tracing, and providing a common data collection platform to drive consistency in real-time data collection. The ECS also makes available Securiport’s proprietary Circle Monitoring and Link Analysis tools for use in contact tracing, which tracks the origins and paths of an individual’s journey to help identify individuals who may have been exposed to a current epidemic. In tandem with Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management and Profiling, the ECS analyzes current conditions and crosschecks databases to intelligently flag an individual depending on geographic incidence and national and international health databases.

Government bodies and aid organizations can benefit greatly from Securiport’s Epidemic Control System and Intelligent Information Management and Profiling. One of the more complex challenges in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases is managing the flow of infected individuals from one country to the next. Knowing where an infected person has been, where they are going or what and whom they’ve come into contact with can be vital information to help treat and control the spread of an infectious disease. Securiport’s tools help governments and aid organizations gather and analyze this data.

By providing intelligent biometric technology coupled with Link Analysis and common data collection, a consistent data platform is generated for use by governments and authorized international agencies in real-time. This empowers governments and aid organizations with the real-time, detailed information they need to effectively monitor the flow of people traveling across borders and ultimately to mitigate the impact and spread of an infectious disease.

Successful Past Performance

Securiport has built extensive experience assisting governments in tropical regions where epidemics are a common concern. Currently, Securiport’s Epidemic Control Systems are in place at immigration control posts across a total of seven West African nations, including Sierra Leone, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast, to assist in monitoring and controlling the spread of the Ebola virus as well as mitigate the health risks and economic impact. Governments in the region are faced with considerable challenges due to the lack of infrastructure and systems in place to monitor individuals’ contact with infected citizen, or transit through areas where infection has been documented.

As part of their ECS, Securiport has been providing Link Analysis during immigration processing, to help identify persons who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus. Through contact tracing, government authorities are able to identify where a passenger has been, where they are going, and what or whom they’ve come into contact with. This kind of information is vital to mitigating the impact and spread of the virus to other regions.

Securiport has also been providing advanced biometric technology at immigration control posts that leverages ultrasound technology to provide accurate identity verification reporting. The biometric data is collected and integrated into a comprehensive database of traveler activity, and stored by the individual client governments in a secure cloud environment. Using cutting-edge data visualization and analytics, Securiport’s solution provides government and aid organizations with complex risk assessment modeling and contact tracing by leveraging big data to identify patterns and provide decision support metrics.

Through this approach of data gathering and analytics, Securiport empowers government leaders and aid organizations with deeper insights into the flow of travelers so that they can take action to curb the spread of the virus. Securiport also funds the implementation of the immigration systems at no cost to local governments, enabling rapid and cost-effective activation and operation.

Investing in Community Health & Safety

Knowing that local governments in developing nations are often lacking in funds and infrastructure, Securiport funds the implementation of Immigration Control Systems, and Epidemic Control Systems, at no cost to local governments, enabling rapid and cost-effective activation and operation. Securiport also provides an in-depth curriculum on the proper operation of their systems and analytical tools. Securiport’s experienced technical instructors are committed to transferring their knowledge of the industry’s best practices through a “learn-by-doing” pedagogical approach.

Securiport’s training team provides continuous engagement through the use of online tools, such as seminars and eLearning, which provide simulated training environments. By providing these solutions, Securiport is playing an active role in strengthening these countries’ infrastructure and security capabilities at international transportation links, while at the same time, improving security at immigration control posts and providing adequate contact tracing to curb the spread of infectious disease.

In addition to providing the technology to fight the spread of infectious disease, Securiport frequently contributes to nonprofit organizations that support disease mitigation and education. For example, Securiport recently partnered with the nonprofit charity, The Fund For Philanthropy (TFFP) to raise $75 million (US) to support the fight against the Ebola virus. In this sense, Securiport is committed to empower governments from both a technology and humanitarian standpoint

Conclusion

Honduran government officials and aid organizations need to be equipped with the proper data and information so that they can make timely decisions that mitigate the spread of infectious diseases and limit the negative impact on the country as a whole. Due to environmental and geographical conditions, Hondurans are at a high risk of contracting a number of vector-borne diseases such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis and Plague. The Honduran government lacks the proper infrastructure needed to provide the necessary aid and support to combat these infectious diseases and mitigate their spread to other areas and countries.

Securiport’s Epidemic Control System (ECS), Integrated Immigration Control Systems (IICS) and Intelligent Information Management and Profiling (IIMP) solutions can address these issues facing Honduras and empowers government officials and aid organizations with an effective way of monitoring an epidemic as well as individuals travelling between regions.

Through Data Collection, Circle Monitoring, and Link Analysis, the ECS enables more effective contact tracing, and provides a common data collection platform that drives consistency in real-time data collection. Coupled with Securiport’s Intelligent Information Management and Profiling solution, intelligent information reports are created that hold statistical data and traveler information which can be analyzed using data-mining techniques and complex comparison algorithms to address a variety of concerns.

References

  1. http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/honduras
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Mitch_in_Honduras
  3. http://www.indexmundi.com/honduras/major_infectious_diseases.html
  4. http://www.globalcommunities.org/node/37055
  5. http://www.msf.org/article/honduras-msf-fights-deadly-outbreak-dengue-fever
  6. http://www.coha.org/dengue-fever-honduras-gripped-by-a-deadly-epidemic/
  7. http://www.indexmundi.com/honduras/major_infectious_diseases.html