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Travelers to EU may be subjected to AI lie detector

British travelers to Europe may soon have to pass scrutiny from the European Union’s controversial artificial intelligence lie detector iBorderCtrl or similar behavior analysis software.

The software analyzes facial movements and body gestures in order to flag suspicious behavior to immigration officers. The system could be incorporated at border checks at airports and ferry terminals as part of the EU’s upcoming border control schemes, the Entry-Exit System (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), according to The Mail on Sunday.

The EES is expected to take effect on October 6th while ETIAS will follow in 2025. Both travel schemes require non-EU visitors to submit biographic and biometric data to enter Schengen countries.

iBorderControl has been a target of heavy scrutiny among rights groups and lawmakers. German member of the European Parliament Patrick Breyer filed a lawsuit in 2019 to the Court of Justice of the European Union seeking to access classified documents on the project. The court, however, ruled to restrict many of the details of the software, citing the need to protect commercial interests.

Last Friday, Breyer dismissed the technology as pseudoscience, adding that it is not possible to detect lying from facial gestures.

“It will discriminate against anyone who is disabled or who has an anxious personality. It will not work,” he says.

The €4.5 million (US$5.1 million) EU-funded iBorderCtrl project was piloted between 2016 and 2019 in Greece, Hungary and Latvia. The technology was developed by scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University, selling it commercially through their firm Silent Talker Ltd. The software was piloted by the TRESPASS Consortium, which also tested another lie detector software under the name TRESPASS until November 2021.

According to the EU AI Act, emotion recognition is defined as a high-risk AI system. Critics, however, point out that the regulation leaves space for its use in law enforcement and migration control.

EES app can’t collect facial images, airline executive says

The European Entry-Exit System (EES) pre-registration mobile app, designed to cut queues at border crossings, is still not completed and will likely not be ready for months in France after the new border regime is launched. One of the reasons for the delay may be its inability to collect facial images, according to an industry insider cited by Connexion France.

The airline industry is currently trying to gain clarity on the matter, he added.

“According to our intel the app is way behind,” an airline industry executive told the news outlet. “At national level in France for example, it is expected it will not be ready until months after the EES launch.”

The EES pre-registration app is being developed by the European Commission and Frontex in order to speed up the process of mandatory registration. The travel scheme, which is expected to kick off on October 6th, requires non-EU passport holders to register biographic and biometric data before entering Schengen countries.

News of the app’s delay was revealed earlier this year by the CEO of rail service Eurostar Gwendoline Cazenave. The delay has caused serious concern among transportation companies which warn of hours-long queues at the border due to insufficient numbers of biometric kiosks and a lack of staff ready to help travelers enroll for the EES.

The issue is especially troubling for border control authorities in the UK and France which have been scrambling to expand capacity at the Port of Dover, Folkestone and London’s St Pancras railway station. Eurostar has been expanding into new areas of St Pancras station to fit in new kiosks, while Dover is planning to process buses separately from cars and eventually kickstart a land reclamation project to create more space for border checks.

Government members are also sounding the alarm over EES. After UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has also joined the chorus of concerned politicians, promising to ask the EU to reconsider introducing the travel scheme for British tourists.

In May, French transport minister Patrice Vergriete floated the possibility of postponing the EES, noting that introducing the scheme could lead to “serious operational problems” and issues with public order. The EES was originally planned to be rolled out in 2022 but has already faced several delays.

Not everything is bad news. The Swedish Border Police and Frontex have been testing a pilot version of the EU’s Quick Border app at Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden. The limited test will run until June 28, according to Connexion France.

Article: Travelers to EU may be subjected to AI lie detector

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