1. The iBorderCtrl system is not used to perform border checks

iBorderCtrl is a research project, researching and developing new technologies. As the system is still in development, it cannot be used for actual border checks.

However, the system needs to be tested to validate whether the developed technologies are functioning properly. To achieve this, test pilots are required. To simulate real conditions, these take place at selected border crossing points. Travellers are being invited to voluntarily join and test the system. However, the test pilots are an encapsulated process which takes place after the person has officially crossed the border, to avoid any negative consequences. Also, the iBorderCtrl system is not linked with any law enforcement databases or live systems.

2. The iBorderCtrl system is used on travellers, but on a voluntary basis

As outlined above, testing the system is required to validate the research conducted in iBorderCtrl. However, travellers are not obliged to use the system when crossing the border. As the system is not used for actual border checks anyway (but just for simulations), travellers are invited to voluntarily join, without any obligation to do so. Data collected in the test pilots will be either deleted or anonymised at the end of the project in August 2019.

3. Fundamental rights of travellers might be violated, but safeguards ensure they are not

Of course, also a test pilot can have an impact on the fundamental rights of travellers. However, as outlined above, the test pilots are encapsulated; issues with respect to discrimination, human dignity, etc. therefore cannot occur.  As for the right to privacy, participants have to provide their informed consent prior to participating in the test pilots. Before doing so, they are informed about both the data processing and their rights as data subjects. Participants can also withdraw from the test pilot at any time and ask for their data to be deleted. In any case, data collected in the test pilots will not be shared with any 3rd parties (i.e. law enforcement agencies) and will be either deleted or anonymised at the end of the project in August 2019. As it is closely monitored that no fundamental rights are being violated, there is no reason to further restrict research on this matter (also considering art. 13 of the European charter of fundamental rights)

4. The system might not be mature enough to be used at the border, but that is the reason for doing research

The Deception Detection system currently has an accuracy of 75%. However, iBorderCtrl is a research project, and not about product development. Therefore, the core task of the project is to research and improve technology, as well as to evaluate its benefit for society and its impact on privacy and fundamental rights of individuals.

Also, the technology is not applied for border checks, but only for testing purposes as explained above.

5. The EU might use the system at the border - if they decide to do so

As of now, iBorderCtrl is only a research project funded by the EU under the H2020 programme. If the system, or parts of it, will be used at the border in the future is unclear. It should be also noted that some technologies are not covered by the existing legal framework, meaning that they could not be implemented without a political decision establishing a legal basis (including proper safeguards) first.

6. Artificial Intelligence-based systems will be implemented at the border - if they offer benefits

The capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the huge potentials it offers are subject to intensive research, not only in iBorderCtrl, but across the whole academic world and various disciplines. However, it is most likely that such a system will only be used at the border if it provides better results than the current system, solely relying on human beings. In fact, an AI-based system with high accuracy might even decrease the risk of discrimination and other fundamental rights issues if implemented properly. Examining the strength and weaknesses of such system is part of the iBorderCtrl project.

7. The Deception Detection system (Avatar and deception detection) is not tested at the border - it is a web application

The proposed iBorderCtrl system follows of a two-stage procedure, consisting of a pre-registration and the actual border crossing. The pre-registration, which can be done at home (it is a web-based or mobile application), shall help to reduce the time required for the checks at the border, making the border crossing as comfortable as possible for travellers.

The Deception Detection system is only used in the pre-registration phase (after travellers provided their informed consent, see no. 3) to verify traveller's identification information prior to their arrival at the border. While it would be theoretically possible, no questions are being asked on the traveller's suitcase, etc. The Deception Detection system as such is not used at the border, as there is no need to verify identity information through an avatar, as human border guards are available at the border. However, border guards will be provided with the risk score calculated based on all checks performed during the pre-registration and the border crossing phases including the one from the avatar interview. However, as explained above, the test pilots are only a simulation without any effect on the border crossing of participants.

8. The system is not used at various/all border crossing points of the EU

The test pilots are being done at one selected border crossing point in each Greece, Hungary and Latvia. As outlined above, the reason for this is to simulate real conditions in various scenarios, while the test pilots are fully encapsulated from actual border checks. Therefore, the iBorderCtrl test pilots should not be confused with large-scales test with millions of travellers. In fact, due to the limited scale of the test pilots, only very few people will actually be able to voluntarily participate.