Securiport Contributes to IATAs Strategic Partnership Newsletter


Securiport: The Passenger Experience, Border Security and Epidemic Control by Dr. Enrique Segura As COVID-19 began to spread throughout the world, borders closed and the international movement of people came to a halt, while the world waited guardedly to see what would happen next. The result would leave an indelible scar on the international community’s psyche. Governments took desperate measures to safeguard their borders, protect the health of their citizens, and save their economies.  Spreading across the world, the novel coronavirus confirmed what we already knew: the international community was woefully ill-equipped to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. The interconnectivity of international travel exposed the weaknesses in current border management practices. Previous control systems worked by identifying those passengers with flagged backgrounds. In the case of the pandemic, persons traveling with no ill intent suddenly became a danger not only to those in their immediate vicinity but to the entire international community. Solutions: Enhanced Integrated Tools From biometric scanners that confirm our identity to thermal readers that can take our temperature, we should have been well equipped to manage COVID-19. What can the global community therefore do to mitigate the disastrous effects caused by such a crisis and prevent it from happening again? To answer this question, we must first look at what our communities are doing now to address the current pandemic. Today’s solutions to managing the virus are being rolled out in piecemeal fashion. Governments are relying on short-term fixes to patch existing gaps within their border security frameworks. This can work in the short-term, but it leaves much to be desired when considering long-term results. Any remedy designed to meet these challenges head-on in the future must be holistic in its approach.  Securiport believes that focusing on integrating disparate systems would be the ultimate panacea the world’s governments are seeking. With an integrated approach, both the government and the passenger must be able to share meaningful information. A platform that gives passengers the opportunity to communicate their health status, for example, while also receiving on-demand resources that empower them to make informed decisions. Similarly, integration cannot be achieved without implementing the necessary privacy safeguards that ensure anonymity where it is warranted and transparency when it is required. This is a difficult balance to strike, but an important one if the system is to be supported unequivocally by all stakeholders. As we rebuild from the carnage that the spread of COVID-19 has inflicted on our economies and lifestyles, the stopgap measures currently being implemented are more likely to cause friction with pre-existing border management technologies. Designing systems with an integrated approach provides governments with the flexibility to respond more effectively to the challenges of tomorrow’s pandemics.