If you're planning on traveling to the European Union in the near future, you'd best grease up as a new border security project is planning on sliding into your background, personal story and biometrics before you have a chance top step off of your plane.
From Lonely Planet:
A new EU-funded project designed to ramp up security will put travelers from outside the European Union to the test by using lie-detecting technology. Countries participating in the project include Luxembourg, Greece, Cyprus, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Latvia and the UK.
The iBorderCtrl project has been implemented because more than 700 million people enter the EU every year, and the huge volume of travelers and vehicles is putting pressure on external borders. This makes it increasingly difficult for border staff to uphold strict security protocols including checking the travel documents and biometrics of every passenger, while keeping disruption to a minimum. The project aims to facilitate the work of border guards in spotting illegal immigrants, and contribute to the prevention of crime and terrorism.
As part of the project which was seemingly named by someone who's watched Hackers at least 90 times, iBorderCtrl will consist of two parts. The first is a creepy online component that visitors to countries enrolled in the program will have to endure before they leave home. Speaking to a virtual border guard, they'll be asked about their gender, ethnicity and to upload a photo of their passport in order to sort out their visa. The program will also inform travelers of their rights while they're in the EU. Did I mention that while all this is going on, the program will be using your computer's camera to monitor your micro expressions? Ah, good times. Anyway, if the program thinks that you're full of shit, you'll have more fun that most people when you arrive in the EU.
The second part of the iBorderCtrl process happens once you arrive at your destination. There, a border guard, presumably wearing a Babadook costume will, continue the privacy freak out and pick up where the your computer probing left off. If the program detected what it believed to be a lie during the online application process, you'll face deeper interrogation than other passengers are subjected to. Using a PDA, the Babadook will cross examine you on the answers you gave while you were still at home. Your face will be compared to the passport photos you sent along and, provided everything checks out, you'll be allowed into Europe… just in time for you to catch your return flight home.
I get that with so many people crossing into Europe on a daily basis, something has to be done to streamline the entry process and to increase security for EU citizens. But this all seems like a bit much and, in the end, hasn't been proven to keep the baddies from mingling with the EU's goodies. Time will tell whether or not the project is a success or just another way to erode more of the few rights, freedoms and the wee bit of privacy that some of us still possess.
Image via Wikipedia Commons