International travel data-sharing for ‘convenience’.
‘TOUCHLESS BORDER’ PLANS
A partnership between the border security agencies of Five Eyes members –- the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – have announced a new collective strategy on data sharing and biometrics.
The 2022 CIO Tech Forum, a community gathering for technology related to border security and immigration, revealed its latest developments to share information between its members.
It says it will achieve this through what it calls the ‘Single Window Working Group’ (SWWG).
According to reports, the SWWG intends to create a “unified portal” to view each member’s immigration and customs data sets, which the CIO Tech Forum says will “increase compliance, reduce processing times, share risk determination, increase digitization, boost transparency for industry and more”.
The intended benefits of a ‘single window‘ between partner countries will integrate each country’s existing single window platform into a central repository, working toward the possibility of eventual integration, with the SWWG decided to use COVID-19 related products as a proof of concept.
Oh yes, folks. COVID technology was testing the grounds for uses much larger.
The B5M5 has also outlined a technology strategy document for 2020 to 2024 to guide its plans on data sharing through scalable, efficient and cost-effective technology, which includes biometrics.
This push is largely being driven by the United States.
The U.S. Border of the Future Strategic Plan document has previously called for the B5M5 to implement a touchless border by 2030, and largely was the inspiration for this new strategy.
The strategy document identifies emerging technologies that countries can “leverage” in their pursuit of a touchless border, establishes common standards to facilitate better data-sharing and systems integration, and pinpoints key trends, threats, and common resolutions the information and technology offices.
And it won’t be difficult for them to achieve this at all.
In recent years, countries like Australia have already spent extensive resources implementing mass biometric systems at airports as part of domestic ‘seamless traveller’ strategies.
The Australian government achieved their goal of automating 90% of air traveller processing by 2020, including the replacement of passports with facial recognition capabilities.
In January 2017, new changes to airport processing saw Australia’s Customs and Border Protection install 92 facial recognition terminals at international airports, as part of an $18 million deal to replace passports with a “contactless” biometric identification system.
The Seamless Traveller Program subsequently saw $93.7 million spent over the next five years for rollout of next generation automated biometric processing at major air and sea ports.
Perth Airport became Australia’s second international airport to begin using new facial recognition biometrics in 2019, following the introduction in Canberra Airport in 2017.
In 2015, The Brisbane Airport Corporation and the Queensland University of Technology’s Airport Innovation Research Lab unveiled “intelligent” CCTV capabilities at the airport.
Just like they plan to ‘automate’ banking, shopping and more, travelling is also included.
As movement becomes heavily restricted under the Agenda 2030 plan, smart city infrastructure will almost certainly include airports, which were in a large sense a first frontier.
Not only will you find it hard to maneuverer around your own country in a state of privacy, but this linking of international ‘seamless’ systems will make it harder for other countries in the West as well.
We have already seen ‘seamless’ travel become a thing, now it’s time to connect it on a larger scale.
So, what is the ‘larger scale’ we speak of? What is the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance?
FIVE EYES ALLIANCE
The Five Eyes alliance was formed after WW2, when the U.K. and U.S. agreed to collaborate on intercepting the secret activities of the Soviet Union and share mass surveillance data.
This alliance has grown to now include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some say a hidden ‘sixth eye’ lurks behind the scenes, but that’s another discussion.
They get data by monitoring users’ online activity, from ISPs and other online trackers, as well as by phone tapping. In 2013, NSA leaks exposed the Five Eyes Alliance for jointly operating numerous secret surveillance schemes and unlawfully spying on their citizens’ most private moments.
One of the most threatening things about this intelligence alliance and intelligence sharing is that they allow countries to spy on their own people by proxy. For example, it may not be legal for the UK to spy on its citizens, but they can ask the US to do so since they’re both in the Five Eyes Alliance.
This has caused controversial intelligence collaborations between Australia and the U.S, for example.
Since we have had evidence (for decades) that the Five Eyes alliance are involved in all kinds of insidious surveillance schemes and intelligence sharing, we don’t know how intimate their surveillance could get.
And this is why plans for a ‘touchless border’ between the countries should concern people.
The easier it is for us to access them, the easier it is for them to do the same. In many aspects.
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