Cross-border movement is increasing globally, and with the benefits of migration and global travel there also come risks. We spoke to CEO of DERMALOG Identification Systems GmbH, Günther Mull – and winner of Business Worldwide Magazine’s 2017 CEO Awards in the category of Best CEO/Biometric Systems Industry – about managing the benefits and risks of migration through border control technology.

In the context of a global economy, global warming and increased civil conflict and war in parts of the world, global migration and particular the forced displacement of populations continues to grow. The international Organization for Migration estimates that while as a proportion of the global population % migration has remained steady, the actual numbers are going up (for example, 244 million in 2015, compared to 232 in 2013).

It is the area of forced displacement (asylum seekers), which saw the most dramatic increases. In 2015 the world hosted 15.1 million refugees, a 45% increase from 2012.  Figures by the United Nations Human Rights Committee estimate that by the end of 2015, 65.3 million people had been displaced by conflict and violence by the end of 2015, 21.3 million of whom travelled across international borders.

And this data does not even touch the sides of figures for annual cross-border travel, which, according to the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/7, continues to grow despite fears of terrorism.

Migration from countries and regions in conflict give rise to fears of exporting terrorism and crime, so many countries are naturally seeking solutions to facilitate migration and manage asylum claims whilst keeping the known offenders out. One company leading the way in providing new border control technology is DERMALOG Identification Systems GmbH.

We talked to CEO Günther Mull about the DERMALOG system and how it can tackle the cross-border problems facing countries today.

What problems are countries encountering at their borders?

The increase in migration, whether for employment, travel or forced migration, can bring huge benefits to countries as well as help vulnerable people escape persecution.

But they also bring risks, serving as a conduit for terrorists, criminal aliens and illegal migrants. Also increasingly problematic is the spread of disease. Countries are seeking way to manage their international obligations without putting their domestic populations at risk.

How does DERMALOG help them balance those two objectives?

Our starting point is that you need to design a Border Control System that reflects the new threats and opportunities of the 21st century I’ve already outlined. We need a new approach to border management.

We believe that security tasks can’t be achieved using a single piece of equipment or sensor. You need a full string of modules integrated together to form a comprehensive system. We base out system, in the main, on an innovative biometric system.

Currently, border authorities have to recognize and verify the authenticity of a wide range of travel documents and the allocation of the controlled person in few seconds, dealing with the problem of various foreign document types and security features as well as obsolete pictures. Occasionally, pages of foreign documents with visa have to be photographed, particularly when the format of passport entries varies a lot.

The basic concept of DERMALOG`s technology at border control posts is to search each visitor against biometric blacklists and also against the entire database (one-to-many-search) in order to find persons by fingerprints who are travelling with two different passports.

When compared to the current system, which is laborious and potentially leaky, we believe our DERMALOG Border Control System provides a strong defense against all external threats, most importantly international terrorists, foreign diseases or other dangerous threats.

So what technological features does DERMALOG include?

Our system includes many benefits, which I will list for you.

  • It reads International Civil Aviation Organization codes instantaneously and accurately.
  • It stores all data including Fingerprints for long-term.
  • Reads ratio-frequency identification chips from all international E-Passports.
  • It operates 24 hours a day/7 days a week without a break.
  • It provides immediate verification against the database.
  • It integrates with existing systems and can be scaled for future growth.

By using biometric gates with biometric person identification, the border crossing can be performed with highest security at highest speed.

Who are your clients?

Both Malaysia and Indonesia are using DERMALOG` technology as well as several member states of the European Union. 16 European countries decided for DERMALOG biometrics for border control, ePassports and national eID cards.

In 2001, the State of Brunei requested a Border Control Solution in order to convert the manual border procedure, used up to this point, into a digitally biometric process. A passport and later an ePassport system with the support of DERMALOG has been in place in Brunei since 2007.

Our project work with the State of Brunei for Border Control Solutions also included the complete biometric eGate solution and an ePassport System. We would argue these systems have led to unprecedented communication and networking between authorities.

In 2016 DERMALOG supplied the State of Singapore with the biometric part of a border control system (BioScreen).

Are you working on any new technologies or new challenges?

Yes, every day is a new challenge in the world of technology. In the future, we will increasingly see biometric systems for both identification and verification. Biometrics are everywhere in our daily life now.

As the demand for safety and security in the public and private sectors increase we will be developing new strategies in this rapidly growing field

Where do you think DERMALOG will be in ten year’s time?

Our idea is make Dermalog a multiple eServices provider. We want to create new opportunities for logical systems in e-government, e-banking and e-business.