Thales, the aerospace company, will provide biometric border control technology for the country, following a contract won by the Spanish Interior Ministry.
The company will work with Madrid-based telecommunications service provider Zelenza. The law is a major border control contract awarded in anticipation of the implementation of the European Union’s Entry/Exit System, or “EES”, which will require members of the free movement area Schengen to collect biometric data from non-EU countries. nationals on entry, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Initially, the SEA was to be implemented in May this year, but the implementation timeline has been postponed to September 2022, based on a decision taken by EU authorities last year.
As indicated in the recently awarded contract, Thales will provide the Spanish authorities with more than 1,500 manual border inspection units, which will be distributed across all Spanish border control points. The units will be equipped with document readers, fingerprint scanners and face capture capabilities, as well as software from Thales, which will be an EES border control authorization device.
“Thales’ manual checkpoints are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies for identity creation and verification. In our biometric competence center in Madrid, we have developed document and person verification tools that are already used in other countries in Europe, Asia, America and Africa”, said Youzec Kurp, SVP of Thales Identity and Biometric Solutions.
The development also follows Thales competitor IDEMIA, also a French company, which won an EES contract with Lithuania in April, underscoring the importance of the two tech giants in helping EU countries EU Schengen to maintain and secure their borders.
Additionally, Reuters has reported in recent months that IDEMIA’s parent company is considering selling IDEMIA, in whole or in part, and that Thales is seen as a potential buyer, with further decisions to follow by the end of the year. year.
Thales and Zelenza’s biometric border project for Spain will be funded by the EU’s Internal Security Fund and is expected to be operational within the next eight months. While the new border control system plans to improve security, Thales says it will eventually provide “a fast and secure identity registration and authorization process” for travellers.
The Entry-Exit System (EES), which is intended to increase internal security and modernize the management of the external borders, will enter into service in September. The system will register travelers from third countries each time they cross an external EU border, helping to track new entries by recording the person’s name, travel document, biometrics and input and output information.