U.S. seeks improvements to sharing of security info

Since attacks in the United States five years ago Monday focused world attention on terrorism, the European Union has taken strides to help fight terrorism. However, the United States is currently in discussions with Europe on two information-sharing agreements.

According to Jarrod Agen, a spokesman from the U.S. Homeland Security Department, the United States currently is given passenger data of those traveling from the European Union 15 minutes after airplanes depart. The information includes basic information such as names and birthdates. The United States wants to get that information before take-off, he said.

Secondly, the United States is negotiating for improvements in the information the United States receives about the booking of tickets, as well as itinerary details. Currently, the U.S. is restricted on how much it can share the information and for how long it can be retained, Agen said.

The European Union has probably been the most productive in the field of biometrics, according to James Carafano, a Heritage Foundation homeland security scholar. The European Commission recently said that by June 2009, two fingerprints will be added to the microchips in biometrics-based passports.

Jonah Czerwinski, a homeland security director for the Center for the Study of the Presidency, said the "EU is moving farther than anyone else in developing passports with biometrics."

Biometrics in passports could help alleviate some concern related to an agreement on travel within the European Union and a U.S. program that waives the need for visas from people in friendly countries. Under EU rules, citizens in participating countries can move freely without being subject to internal border controls.

According to Czerwinski, more countries are moving to join the agreement, which he said has a "border security cost" but an "economic payoff."

The European Union has databases with people's security information, according to Telmo Baltazar, the EU counselor for justice and home affairs. "We can only afford to create this possibility by putting in place adequate security measures," Baltazar said. The union also is considering a full biometric-based entry-exist system similar to the US-VISIT program for tracking visitors.

Czerwinski said Europe must find a way that addresses a cultural issue that dates to World War II: people not wanting to show identification papers.

Visa reciprocity between the United States and Europe remains an issue. Americans traveling to all EU nations do not require visas, but citizens from 10 of the 25 EU nations must have visas for U.S. travel. "This creates a serious issue of a lack of full reciprocity," Baltazar said.

Biometrics could provide more faith in passports and result in the visa program becoming less of an issue, Czerwinski said.

The European Commission on Monday released a list of initiatives it has taken in the fight against terrorism, including a pending decision on electronic customs and a framework on security and safeguarding liberties.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.