US-Backed NGO Project Enhances Biometric Border Screening in Mogadishu

US-Backed NGO Project Enhances Biometric Border Screening in Mogadishu

New fingerprint scanning terminals at two critical points of entry in Mogadishu could help to thwart international criminals and terrorists trying to elude authorities through Somalia.

The terminals were installed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a United Nations-affiliated intergovernmental organization, with support from the US Department of State. Deployed at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport and the Mogadishu Seaport, the terminals are aimed at replacing single-digit fingerprint readers that are currently in place, allowing detailed 10-digit scans that can be compared against INTERPOL databases. And the project is more ambitious than these initial deployments suggest, with IOM planning to deliver these new fingerprint reader terminals to a total of eight points of entry in Somalia.

In a statement announcing the deployments, IOM explained that Somalia has a “fluid internal movement of regular and irregular migrants,” with criminals often “striving to circumvent the system by capitalizing on loopholes in border management.”

The deployments are illustrative of a global trend toward biometric border screening, with the US being a prime example as its Department of Homeland Security seeks to establish biometric identification systems airports and other border checkpoints. The US government’s funding of this IOM project indicates that its pursuit of biometric border control does not stop at the US border, with authorities evidently seeing opportunities to help other states detect international criminals through the implementation of sophisticated biometric identification technologies.

June 12, 2018 – by Alex Perala