What’s a national border for? Why do so many countries invest in integrated border management?
If you say, “To keep out the bad guys,” you’re only half right.
Our borders act as doorways to financial health. Increasingly, our national economies depend on tourism and international trade. Therefore, the simpler we make legitimate passage, the better. Still, since those who seek entry for nefarious purposes present such a significant risk, we must find more effective ways to stop them.
Watch our webinar to learn how new, AI-powered natural language processing (NLP) technologies can ease entry procedures for legitimate travelers and cargo while helping customs and border officials stop malefactors before they reach the border.
You’ll hear from three experts in the field.
- Tony Smith, CBE: Tony is managing director of Fortinus Global border management consultancy, and chair of the International Border Management and Technologies Association. He previously served as director general of the UK Border Force and as Gold Commander for the London 2012 Summer Olympics. In that position, he oversaw the processing of more than three million athletes, coaches, spectators, and officials who entered the United Kingdom for the games — on top of regular international traffic.
- Michael Ivahnenko: Michael serves as CEO of Advoco LLC national security advisory group. He formerly worked as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.
- Declan Trezise: Declan is vice president of global solutions engineering at Babel Street.
In Bridging Borders: How AI and Public Information Sources Enhance Integrated Border Management, they discussed topics such as:
- Integrated border management (IBM)
- Looking beyond watchlists to improve national security
- The border of the future
Let’s take a closer look at each topic.
Prescreening to “push the border out”
AI-powered NLP technologies can empower customs and border officials to effectively pre-screen people and businesses — assessing their risk before they or their cargo arrive at a nation’s land crossings, airports, or maritime borders. This capability helps border agencies make entry decisions in advance, easing passage as appropriate while improving security.
Integrated border management
IBM is a second emerging approach for concurrently facilitating legitimate passage and improving national security.
In many countries, a vast array of agencies operating from federal to local levels of government take some responsibility for customs and border security. IBM is an initiative to enable significant collaboration among these agencies by integrating border-related information, systems, processes, and people. This collaboration most often takes place among different agencies working at different levels of one country’s government. However, it can also occur among neighboring countries.
New technologies to match names and obtain insight from publicly available information (PAI) aid collaboration efforts — empowering customs and border officials to more efficiently screen people and businesses, and enabling data sharing. Data sharing is the first step toward integrated border management.
Looking beyond the watchlist
Not every criminal or undesirable ends up on watchlists. These lists typically name only those involved in terrorism, drug trafficking, large financial crimes, and other significant malfeasance.
Drunk drivers won’t appear on these lists. Still, Canada has stringent rules limiting the right of those convicted of DUI to enter the country.1 Similarly, the United Kingdom has affirmed its right to “discretionary refusal” of visas — meaning travelers can be denied entry based on their conduct, character, or associations.
Think of it this way. UK Visas and Immigration may not want the stepson of known drug trafficker to enter the country. This young man may have absolutely no criminal record. Still, UK officials may believe that the risk of a known drug trafficker’s stepson being involved in as-yet-undetected nefarious activities presents a threat to the country.
Sovereign nations are allowed to devise their own criteria for who may or may not enter their countries. They often base these decisions on the traveler’s prior behavior or perceived propensity to do harm.
But how do you find information on these travelers?
New AI platforms search all layers of the internet, including the deep and dark web; thousands of sources of PAI; and real-world interactions generated on chats, social media posts, online comments, and message boards. They coalesce information found, and the insight generated from this information can help customs and border control agencies obtain a more complete picture of would-be travelers.
Envisioning the border of the future
What will tomorrow’s border crossings look like? Imagine traveling in a world where advance screening techniques, biometrics, and innovative imaging technologies combine to make passage for legitimate travelers almost frictionless — with no need for interaction with customs, security, or border officials when boarding a plane, unloading cargo, or arriving at a foreign country’s land border. The need for customs and border officials will remain, but their responsibilities will evolve. You may not see many of them at the airport anymore. Instead, they’ll be in their offices, investigating and approving travelers and cargo, and stopping malefactors or contraband before they reach the border — thereby easing passage for legitimate travelers while improving national security.
For more information, watch Bridging Borders: How AI and Public Information Sources Enhance Integrated Border Management.
1. Government of Canada, “I was convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Can I enter Canada?” May 2023, https://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=152&top=8
2. Home Office, “Immigration Rules,” July 2023, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-part-9-grounds-for-refusal
All names, companies, and incidents portrayed in this document are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, companies, and products are intended or should be inferred.