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Forum underlines need to balance security with passenger convenience

The importance of streamlining border management with systematic data checks was the focus of the first INTERPOL-ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) joint passenger data exchange forum.

Bringing together counter-terrorism and transnational-crime, customs, migration, transportation and information and communications technology experts, the two day meeting, which took place on 27-28 May, highlighted the need for countries to implement Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data systems.

Ensuring that passenger data was screened as early as possible was also identified as key to both border security and avoiding bottlenecks at airports thereby enhancing both traveller comfort and safety. To achieve this, the forum underlined that interoperability, data quality and exchange as well as a common understanding and interpretation of the data among the different stakeholders was essential.

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said access to and exchange of information was part of a shared vision of a ‘virtual border’ which adds a key layer of security to physical boundaries guarded by men and women in uniform, thanks to multi-national, and multi-sector action.

He said: “One key piece of data shared, a simple check at the frontlines can mean a potential threat to air travel is identified. We need to close gaps which are being exploited by criminals and terrorists to undermine our societies and this forum is an important step in achieving this.”

The joint INTERPOL-ICAO forum was held as part of the long running cooperation between the two organisations since the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2000.

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