Impossible produce completely secure passports

22.12.2015 13:49

The terror organization Islamic State last summer stole technical equipment that makes it possible to issue passports. They are also suspected to be behind many false Syrian passport.

One of the perpetrators at the terrorist attacks in Paris are suspected to have come through refugee flows with a false Syrian passport.

To prevent terrorists from entering with refugee flows Sweden and the EU tried to obtain a more dense net in place at the Swedish and European borders, says Per Lowenberg, team leader of the national border police. Exactly what the network means he does not want to go into.

- We check also EU citizens, under certain conditions, and we can make checks against records. There are spot checks and intelligence information that determines what we should look for such as patterns in bookings, payments and flying, he says.

Swedish Television has reported that the chaos in Syria means that anyone can buy themselves a new identity online. EU migration authorities suspect that among others IS produces and earns money on the false Syrian passports.

- IS is one of those who have seized stolen blank passports and printing equipment, but it also applies to opposition forces. There are loads of equipment and identification documents in the hands of non-official agencies, says Jan Westmar, head of the Migration Board's unit ID.

Europol announced in October that the IS had stolen 58 000 blank Iraqi passports. The organization also the took technical equipment that makes it possible to produce complete passport, reported the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

But Per Lowenberg says that it is possible that these passports can be blocked.

- It may be that you are familiar with the series of numbers waiting to photograph and signature so that you can lock them with a simple operation, he says.

Within the EU's migration authorities are now discussed to possibly reject any Syrian passport. Such a decision would then be taken by each Member State. According to Jan Westmar the discussion is mostly about the poor technical quality of the Syrian identification documents.

Per Lowenberg of the border police believes, however, that such a disapproval would not have such great consequences for the Syrian refugees seeking protection from war and misery.

- It is already difficult for Syrians with a genuine passport to get a visa to another country, that is why they cross the Mediterranean Sea and seek asylum when they arrive.

In Sweden, the Swedish Migration Board investigates every week 1,200 cases involving identity documents. Approximately 60 of these turns out to be about false documents.

The ID unit has access to special equipment to do the authenticity assessments of identity documents.

- It is an advanced camera that can do good enlargements and show different frequencies of light so that the ID fuses lit up. This may involve, for example a symbol to light up at certain ultraviolet light frequencies, Jan Westmar.

According to Per Lowenberg passports have generally become safer in recent years, including the so-called biometric passports. These have been introduced in the EU but also of some other countries. For Sweden, such passports have a chip storing facial images and fingerprints for secure identification.

Fully secure passports, which are impossible to forge, can not be made, Per Lowenberg thinks.

- If anyone can invent a safe technique someone shortly thereafter surely can invent a technology to go around it. So it tends to be in other areas, he says.

Source: Ny Teknik, November 16, 2015