UK government urged to answer concerns about EU travel systems including facial recognition and algorithmic profiling

The UK government has recently been under pressure to respond to the various concerns over the rights and liberties of citizens regarding the upcoming border management systems for traveling from and to European Union (EU) countries using biometrics and algorithmic-based decision-making.
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Indeed, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and the Entry/Exit (EES) could have serious consequences for citizens if the UK wasn’t prepared enough for their rollout. The systems will be used to check the travelers’ identity through facial and fingerprint biometrics as well as deliver an authorisation to travel.

The chair of the Justice and Home Affairs Committee is concerned about the implications of both systems, especially as they are many ethical, legal, logistical, and political challenges. A lack of a launch date for the systems is almost making it more difficult to trust them.

Moreover, the committee fears that some people might get discriminated against by the ETIAS algorithm, as it will apply security checks using a wide range of personal data. Other concerns were made concerning some people who might not be able to navigate the ETIAS application as it requires having a suitable electronic device and access to reliable connectivity.

Hence, some potential solutions were laid out, such as pre-registration in the EES or investments in personnel or in physical or technological infrastructure, so as to help speed up border processes. Another thing that was proposed would be to share the biometric data of UK citizens with EU countries in order to eliminate the collection of biometric data by European border officials.

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