• Global EntryCBP expands Global Entry to Colombian citizens

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the other day the expansion of Global Entry to citizens of Colombia. Global Entry, a CBP Trusted Traveler Program, allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Colombia becomes the first country in South America and the eighth country overall whose citizens will be eligible to enroll in Global Entry.

  • Visa WaiverU.S. modifies Visa-Waiver program to make it more secure

    The United States announced Monday that it would make changes to the Visa Waiver program in an effort to prevent terrorists who are citizens of Visa Waiver countries from easily entering the United States. The New York Times reports that the White House has admitted that the changes — which would impose higher fines for airlines which fail to verify passengers’ identities and increased information-sharing among countries — are limited, and that more sweeping changes would require Congressional action. Law enforcement and security experts say that the Visa Waiver program — which allows more than twenty million foreigners form the thirty-eight Visa Waiver countries to travel to the United States each year without being interviewed at American consulates and embassies — dwarfs the administration’s Syrian refugee plan, and poses a far greater threat to national security.

  • ImmigrationDHS cannot locate 266 “illegal overstays of concern”

    According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, and 21 May 2013 Hill testimony by Rebecca Gambler, director of the Homeland Security and Justice for GAO, DHS, since 2011, has identified 1,901 “illegal overstays of concern.” As of March 2013, 14 percent of them, or 266, are still missing.

  • Exit trackingDHS to propose visa exit tracking system

    DHS is in the midst of completing its plan to establish a biometric exit system for immigrants when they leave the United States; the plan has been devised amid growing concerns about terrorists who entered the country legally, but continue to stay long after their visas had expired

  • Maritime and Transportation Security ExpoMaritime and transportation security professionals head to Baltimore

    For two days in early May, hundreds of private contractors, security industry professionals, and government officials will flock to Baltimore, Maryland for the ninth annual Maritime and Transportation Security Expo; this year’s expo, organized by E. J. Krause and Associates, will be held on 4 May to 5 May and is expected to draw more than 1,000 people from the private and public sector; the two day conference will hold several workshops and panel discussions to examine how the government and the private sector can work together to address maritime security threats like terrorism and piracy, especially in light of a global economic crisis

  • Mexico, U.S. agree on Trusted Traveler Program

    The U.S. and Mexican governments signed agreements Tuesday designed to improve airline security as Mexico continues its war against drug cartels; a key part of the agreement is a trusted traveler program that allows airline passengers who have undergone rigorous background checks to bypass lengthy screenings at airport checkpoints. They also must provide biometric information — such as fingerprints — that can be encoded onto trusted traveler cards and run through electronic card readers

  • TrendNew opportunities for biometrics and smart cards

    The biometric microprocessor card market is growing by leaps and bounds; the microprocessor smart card market will hit 5.32 billion units shipped in 2010 and rise to 6.02 billion units in 2011; the growth owes to rising sales of e-ID cards, especially from the European residence permit, and growth in e-services for citizens

  • Aviation securityAll airlines flying to the U.S. now gather passenger information for terror check

    All 197 airlines that fly to the United States are now collecting names, genders, and birth dates of passengers so the government can check them against terror watch lists before they fly; getting all air carriers that travel to or through the United States to provide this information marks a milestone in the government’s counterterror efforts and completes a recommendation of the special commission that studied government shortcomings before and after the 9/11 attacks

  • Aviation securityFinal phase of TSA's Secure Flight program taking effect

    As of 1 November, all domestic airlines will collect passengers’ names, dates of birth, and gender of passengers at the time of booking a flight; international carriers will do the same by the end of the year; passengers who do not enter all information at least seventy-two hours prior to departure will not be able to print out boarding passes

  • The past as prologueThe revival of CLEAR's Registered Traveler program

    In 2003, Steven Brill, founder of Court TV and American Lawyer magazine, founded Verified Identity Pass and used it to launch the CLEAR program at Orlando International Airport; the program made it possible for pre-registered travelers to skip security checks at airports; the initial 8,000 travelers enrolled in 2003, and the service would grow to nearly 260,000 paying customers in a matter of five years; CLEAR went belly up in 2009, and its assets were bought by Algood Holdings, which relaunched the program; “Same brand, same logo, different company,” says CEO Caryn Seidman Becker

  • EU biometric passports not that safe, experts say

    The EU’s e-passports were supposed to be fool-proof, even impossible to counterfeit; Europol has warned, though, that despite the biometric changes to passports, counterfeiting still remains a major problem for criminals or others “who are determined to do so,” with the provision of documents for irregular immigrants being the main driver of the activity

  • Identity theftPuerto Rico overhauls birth-certificate systems; will annul 5 million birth certificates

    More than 40 percent of all passport fraud cases in the United States start with a stolen Puerto Rican birth certificate; identity thieves have targeted Puerto Ricans because Puerto Rican names provide the perfect cover for Hispanic illegal immigrants entering the United States and are worth as much as $6,000 on the black market; the documents are so valuable that drug addicts trade them for a fix; the Puerto Rican government has decided to change all that: current Puerto Rican birth certificates will no longer be valid after 30 September; between now and then, all Puerto Ricans will have to apply for more secure birth documents

  • Despite warnings, sensitive components of U.S. e-Passport are assembled in Thailand

    Security experts have warned about the security risks for a while now, but a U.S. government contractor is still assembling a key passport component in Thailand; the Government Printing Office (GPO) inspector general has warned the GPO lacks a basic security plan for protecting blank e-Passports from theft by terrorists, foreign spies, or counterfeiters

  • Paper I-94W forms will be no longer be needed for travelers from Visa Waiver nations

    By the end of the summer DHS will do away with paper I-94W forms for travelers from the thirty-six Visa Waiver Program nations; the process will now become completely electronic; travelers will log on to CBP’s Web site, submit their personal and travel information, and answer a list of questions related to public health and criminal activity that could make the traveler inadmissible

  • U.S. institutes new, targeted security protocols for travelers to U.S.

    The United States is replacing broad screening of all in-coming travelers with a more targeted approach; the intelligence-based security system is devised to raise flags about travelers whose names do not appear on no-fly watch lists, but whose travel patterns or personal traits create suspicions