Imagine arriving at airport border control and having to answer security questions not from a human agent, but from an intelligent machine that knows if you’re lying or not. It may sound like a scenario from the science fiction series Black Mirror, but the AI lie detector has been installed on three EU borders. The futuristic technology is being tested as a way to improve border security among EU countries, following the implementation of other measures such as the shared ETIAS visa waiver program.
What Are the EU Lie Detectors Used for?
In an effort to fight terrorism and other criminal activity within shared European Union borders, the EU is funding a €45 million trial of artificial intelligence lie detectors called iBorderCtrl. The machines have been installed in EU border airports in Greece, Hungary, and Latvia for a six month trial period, with Cyprus, Germany, Poland and the UK expected to participate after the trial.
Travelers coming from outside the EU will be required to scan copies of their passport, visa (or authorization), and proof of funds, before having to answer security questions from a computer-generated border guard. They must directly address a webcam which analyzes every small facial movement and can tell if the traveler is lying or not. The machine will ask questions about the contents of the traveler’s suitcase and travel plans and decide if they are telling the truth.
EU authorities have estimated that the system currently has around 76% accuracy, although they expect this to increase to around 85%. Nevertheless, additional measures will be taken to ensure minimum error. For example, the process will involve a pre-screening stage where travelers will be identified as either low or high risk. Low-risk travelers will proceed through a quick revision of their information, while high-risk passengers will be more thoroughly checked.
Human border officials will also be on hand to guide the process and will use portable devices to check information provided as well as to compare facial images taken from the AI lie detector with passports and any pictures previously taken at the EU border.
What Other Security Measures Are Used at the EU border?
With over 700 million visitors crossing their borders annually, the iBorderCtrl lie detectors are not the first measure that EU countries have recently adopted in order to improve security. In November 2016, the European commision agreed to implement the ETIAS visa waiver program by 2021. The aim primary aim of the ETIAS visa is to tighten border control within Schengen Area countries, although the simple online ETIAS application also saves time and hassle.
Passport holders from over 60 nationalities including Australia, New Zealand, and the United States will have to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver online in order to travel to Schengen Area Countries. The information provided is checked against security databases in order to help curb terrorist or other criminal activities. Those who get the European Travel Information and Authorization System will be able to travel freely within any of the 26 Schengen countries as internal borders do not apply within the zone.
How to Apply for the ETIAS Visa Waiver
Those eligible for the ETIAS can complete a simple online form in around 10 minutes and receive the European visa waiver via email soon afterward. The ETIAS requirements involve having a passport from an eligible country valid for at least 3 months upon entering the Schengen Area, a debit credit card to pay the visa fee, and an email address to which the ETIAS authorization will be sent.
In order to complete the ETIAS application, applicants must fill in the data from the passport information page, as well as address and contact details and details about travel plans. They must also answer some health and security-related questions. It’s important to double-check the information provided to avoid problems with receiving the authorization. Upon completion, the ETIAS visa waiver will be sent to the email address provided, with most applications processed in minutes. The applicant can then print the document to present at Schengen Area border control. Depending on their destination, they may also have to pass the iBorderCtrl security checks to gain entry to the EU.