The National Migration Superintendent for Peru, Mr Boris Protozen and Richard Gil Kerlikowske, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to unite in the prevention of terrorism by agreeing to exchange secure flight passenger data.
The MoU, signed at the end of last month, highlights the commitment between the two organisations to fight to keep the borders of their countries, and flight operations secure. Under the Advance Passenger Information System, the Department of Homeland Security and CBP will receive secure data to allow advance passenger screening in real time.
Providers of Advance Passenger Information Systems (APIS) ensure that passenger data exchange occurs in a timely fashion to enable airlines and operators to adhere to strict mandatory conditions that surround the process, in terms of collection, storage and transmission of the data.
Peru joins an increasing number of countries around the world who are appreciating the benefits of monitoring the movements of persons of interest.
Following the recent attacks in Europe, the UK and Ireland have agreed that Advance Passenger Information (API) will now be shared for all travellers between the two countries.
With nearly 4.5 million travellers moving between London and Dublin last year, just on flights, the air route can be marked as one of the world’s busiest.
The move is welcomed by groups who have campaigned for greater attention to this route, which has been cited as a possible route for extremists to travel before moving on to other territory.
Frances Fitzgerald, Acting Justice Minister, said, “It is a critical issue, not just for Ireland, but for all member states that they are in a position to strengthen border controls through the sharing of information on suspect passengers prior to their travel from one jurisdiction to another.”
As terror threats continue to increase across the world, API provision is becoming a growing requirement, enabling governments and border agencies to screen passengers in advance of travel.
Providers of the Advance Passenger Information System, such as Rockwell Collins’ ARINC AviSec, ensure that aviation message handling is reliable, with guaranteed delivery and security.
Switzerland’s Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) has said that there has been a significant increase in Advance Passenger Information (API) during the last four years.
Their report, published earlier this month, notes an increase from 9,000 to approximately 1.5 million passenger data transfers of information for the advance screening of travellers using the country’s airlines.
The FIS handles the data for the use of the prevention of terrorism, both physical and cyber, and now screens all passengers arriving in Switzerland from designated countries using both commercial and charter flights.
The handling of personal passenger data should be carried out according to international standards, often via APIS, a world-recognised and accepted form of transmission. Providers of the Advance Passenger Information System are closely regulated and monitored to ensure regulatory procedures are maintained.
Malaysia’s Home Ministry has announced plans for the implementation of a passenger screening system based on the current U.K. and U.S. Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) to upgrade current screening procedures.
With the growing threat of terrorist attack, and the recent bombings in Jakarta that killed eight people, the country’s officials recognise the benefits of advance passenger screening to prevent known extremists from entering the country.
A system known as the Advanced Passenger Screening System (APSS) is being discussed, and rumours are circulating that it could be developed with help from Interpol.
Keith Vaz, chair of UK Home Affairs Select Committee, has openly criticised the state of the UK immigration system in a report that warns the system is in ‘intensive care’.
The report comes after almost ten years of troubled services for the UK borders, including the e-borders scheme that never quite made it off the mark. Mr Vaz is concerned that the promise of exit checks at British ports in the form of departure lists, set to be introduced this spring will not be forthcoming as he commented within the report that the list ‘no longer looks likely’.
Mr Vaz’ concerns grow as he looks at the increased risk of illegal migration and security. Bemoaning the actions, or lack of them, of previous governments he said, “Successive governments have spent millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on the botched e-borders programme. Everyone who enters and leaves Britain must be counted in and out.” In 2003, plans were launched for the collection of Advance Passenger Information for those leaving the UK. API is received from airlines and operators bringing passengers into the UK, but there is a distinct lack of information about those that pass across our borders into Europe and beyond.
Mr Cameron argued that much is being done to halt the progress of illegal immigration and figures are being met. The debate continues.
Ireland has called for a co-ordinated push in the EU to crack down on terrorism and organised crime, following a decision with Britain to share intelligence on selected flights.
Advance Passenger Information (API) from all ports should be shared across Europe, which, according to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, ‘is a tool of proven potential’.
It has been indicated through military intelligence and information supplied to the British Government by the Garda Special Branch that Ireland has been used as a base for regular visits to Iraq and Syria by up to 30 jihadis, which has led to increased surveillance efforts in a bid to track their movements.
The minister said that the strengthening of security of national and international borders was a ‘key element in protecting our citizens from terrorist threats’ and that API exchange was a ‘major boost towards achieving that objective’.
API is transmitted electronically to the governments and border agencies of destination countries. It is usually collected at the time of booking. The U.S. operate mandatory API collection, but as yet, the system is not mandatory in other countries, although many agencies are calling for the collection of passenger data across the world to keep borders secure with the advance notification of potentially high-risk passengers.