What if border controls at airports were faster?

Human beings have never been so mobile. And our world has never been so small. In July 2019, there were over 250,000 flights in a single day. A decrease in prices accompanied by an increase in disposable income in certain countries brought the global number of yearly passengers close to 5 billion. The sheer magnitude of the numbers makes it evident that the system is strained, especially considering that air travel infrastructure and the staffing for it has not kept pace with the increase in demand. This poses several concerns that range from mild to severe: there are longer queues, and there is a higher risk of terrorist attacks. Furthermore, given the rise in the frequency of air travel, the world has witnessed the alarming speed at which pandemics can spread with the COVID19 outbreak becoming a global catastrophe in early 2020.

For this reason, the European Commission – whose Member States monitor some of the most frequently crossed borders – deemed it important to launch a research investigation into the social acceptability of a solution that could maximise efficiency and minimize contact in air travel: no-gate border checks. Hence, PERSONA (Privacy, Ethical, Regulatory and SOcial No-gate crossing point solutions Acceptance).

The project designs and establishes a unified and tailored impact assessment method to appropriately assess the effects of new border-controlling technologies and ensure that these solutions meet the requirements and expectations of both governments, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and border crossing individuals. CyberEthics Lab.’s role in the project consists in assessing the mood of people related to no-gate crossing board technologies in the web through a Sentiment Analysis as well as monitoring and managing a vast Community of Stakeholders (CoS – composed of members of LEAs, political and research institutions, civil society, and the private sector) in order to assess the societal acceptance of those technologies. CEL’s engagement with the CoS is undertaken in compliance with GDPR. The results of the Sentiment Analysis combined with the interaction with stakeholders will provide important information for decision-makers in the form of perceived risks and possible mitigation measures and guidelines that will permit the deployment of future, innovative solutions by industry and border authorities.

Website: http://persona-project.eu

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 787123

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