VIS User Conference 2012
From 4 to 6 July, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) organised an international conference on biometrics with the Federal Foreign Office (AA), the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the Federal Police.
The aim of this event was to exchange experience with other Schengen States on the capture of fingerprints in the framework of the European visa procedures. About 75 guests from more than 20 different countries attended the conference at the Federal Office of Administration on the first two days, among them representatives from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxemburg, Holland, Norway, Poland, Rumania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland as well as experts from the European Commission and the EU agency Frontex. Apart from that, the American agency National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the European Committee for Standardization - CEN TC224/WG18 held presentations.
After an opening address given by President Christoph Verenkotte, who warmly welcomed the guests at the Federal Office of Administration, the participants seized this unique opportunity to exchange practical experience gained since 11 October 2011, when the European Visa Information System became operational, and to discuss insights and problems.
The presentations held by NIST and the European Committee for Standardization widened the range of the programme, providing information on EU initiatives to harmonise procedures as well as insights into other major systems outside of Europe, for instance in the USA or India.
A particular highlight constituted the practical part of the conference, where Schengen States presented and discussed their delivered or mobile equipment for the capture of fingerprints in a fair-like situation.
Great attention was also paid to the representatives of the BSI, who informed, on the basis of recent research results, of methods to falsify biometric systems.
On the third day of the conference, the delegation took a Federal Police bus to go to Frankfurt Airport in order to see, on the site, the practical implementation of the biometric border control at Europe’s third largest airport. This presentation focused on both the technical implementation and the optimisation of procedures aimed to minimise as far as possible the waiting time increased by the additional biometric check.
The practical presentation was followed by a working meeting of European experts, who evaluate the experience gained so far and develop recommendations for the European Community. This initiative is supported by the EU agency Frontex.