German Federal Criminal Police Office

secunet develops the first guidelines for the automated optical inspection of passports

During border controls at airports, travel documents are checked using both electronic protection mechanisms and optical features.

Both can be carried out using machine processes, which the BSI has fundamentally regulated in technical guideline TR-03135. In addition, there is currently a need for practical guidelines for optical document verification. secunet has taken on this task on behalf of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

Since 2013, secunet has been working with the BKA to evaluate the performance of optical verification systems as part of the AROMA (Advanced Research on Optical Machine Authentication) project. Based on the findings, secunet and the BKA have now produced the first best-practice guidelines for automated optical passport control. They address document designers as well as manufacturers of inspection systems and operational operators.

The new guidelines serve to improve inspection quality and thus enhance security at the border. They are also expected to play a role at the international level in the future: The Technical Advisory Group of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has already given the green light for further development of the guidelines into an official ICAO Technical Report. In addition, the results of the AROMA project have already been incorporated into the TR-03135 guideline.

However, this is only one milestone in the project: secunet is currently developing a second part of the guidelines with the BKA, which will contain recommendations for the evaluation of optical test systems - from test planning to evaluation. This part will also include the results of an extensive practical test at the border control stations at Frankfurt Airport. The BKA and the German Federal Police will thus receive significant support in continuously analyzing and optimizing optical inspection quality.