High-Quality Biographic Matching & UMF Standards for EU Interoperability

The eu-LISA 12th Industry Roundtable (3-5 November 2020) focused on challenges related to data quality and interoperability of EU IT systems, in the context of the new information architecture used in internal security, police and judicial cooperation, borders, visa, asylum, and migration. During the Roundtable, eu-LISA short-listed companies, including WCC, presented their recommended solutions. WCC’s solution addressed the use of biographic matching for high quality interoperability. The online event focused on three critical KPI’s.

  • Ensuring the quality of alphanumeric as well as biometric data in large-scale IT systems
  • Maintaining access to data across many disparate systems
  • Ensuring biometric data quality at the point of capture

An EU roadmap towards interoperability

In 2016, eu-LISA established a roadmap towards interoperability. Its goal is to eliminate information silos and also to share information between central EU systems. Our earlier two-part blog describes WCC’s vision of using UMF to help achieve this goal. Mr. El Rahwan (Senior Solution Architect, WCC) presented this solution during eu-LISA’s 11th Roundtable in 2019.

The eu-LISA 12th Industry Roundtable

On 3-5 November 2020, eu-LISA hosted the 12th Industry Roundtable entitled ‘Data Quality and Interoperability: Addressing the Capability Gaps through Standardisation.’ The online event brought together over 320 participants from more than 90 organizations and 35 countries. They included representatives from international border management and security industries, EU Member State authorities, EU Institutions, and JHA Agencies, as well as from NGOs and academia.

During the event, Mr. El Rahwan presented the ELISE ID Platform, a high-quality and high-performance solution used within the EU VIS system.

The need for EU interoperability

The need to improve interoperability is clear. In its document ‘Closing the Information Gap,’ the EU Security Union in fact concludes:

‘The current EU information systems for security, border, and migration management do not work together – they are fragmented, complex, and difficult to operate. As a result, information may slip through the net, endangering the EU’s internal security and the safety of European citizens’.

To this end, the EU introduced new regulations in 2019 to establish frameworks for EU interoperability. Clause 51 of the legislation states that Universal Message Format (UMF) should serve as a standard for structured, cross-border information exchange between information systems, authorities, or organizations in the field of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The UMF is therefore critical to achieving EU interoperability.

The main component for interoperability is the Common Identity Repository (CIR). It will share biographical and biometric data from existing systems such as VIS and EURODAC and also the new IT-systems EES, ETIAS, and ECRIS-TCN. Smart matching will therefore be critical to improving the accuracy of identification through automated comparison and intelligent matching. There is considerable enthusiasm within eu-LISA for reusing the ELISE VIS implementation within the CIR. Most importantly, ELISE fully complies with the EU legislative framework on interoperability.

The ELISE ID Platform and EU Compliancy

RequirementELISE Compliancy
clause 51 – considering UMF for VISELISE is used by VIS, supports UMF, and can be re-used for the CIR
Art 17 – CIRELISE is an out-of-the-box Identity Management system with Person Centric View capabilities that can link identities to VIS, Eurodac, ETIAS, EES, ECRIS-TCN
Art 18 – CIR DataELISE is a leading Identity matching system specialized in matching alphanumeric (biographic) data, including advanced multi-cultural name matching
Art 25 – MIDUsing ELISE’s matching capabilities, the MID can act as a periodic process to detect duplicate identities in the CIR.
ELISE has a long track record of successfully deduplicating identity databases
Art 38 – establishment of UMFThe ELISE data model supports the UMF data format out-of-the-box
Art 61 (16) – Risk Assessment for ETIASELISE Rule-based Target can be used for risk assessment for ETIAS

Cross-system interoperability for biographical data

In his presentation during the Roundtable, Mr. El Rahwan focused on biographical data in an interoperability architecture. In particular, he focused on WCC solutions that address many of the challenges of ensuring cross-system interoperability for biographical data. The WCC ELISE ID Platform – a rule-based knowledge-driven AI with domain-specific modules – successfully mitigates many interoperability challenges. Notably it can handle high traffic and matches across many diverse sources.

Ease of integration: Firstly, the ELISE ID Platform can be directly integrated with multiple sources, using direct database connections or APIs and web-services. In the case of Interpol for instance, ELISE ID exchanges case data with Interpol using a web-interface connector.

Biographical data: The names of individuals, cities, and countries are not identical across languages (e.g., The Hague, English / Den Haag or s’ Gravenhage, Dutch). Geographical changes can also be recorded differently. For instance, if a person is born in today’s Ukraine, formerly known as the USSR. Transcription between languages and writing forms presents further challenges, all of which the ELISE ID Platform can resolve. Furthermore, ELISE’s ability to consume and match biographical data from disparate databases is fundamental to a successful interoperability strategy.

Combining results:  External biometric data matches can be accessed using APIs and combined with biographical sources. Using rule-based strategies, the ELISE ID Platform will use biographical details returned by biometric matching services to perform intelligent biographical matches. To do so, it applies built-in fuzzy logic, pattern-matching, and exact matching.

Compliance with EU legislative framework: Equally important, the 2019 Regulations for EU interoperability mandated the use of UMF. The ELISE ID Platform uses the POLE model – People, Objects, Locations, Events – and is therefore suitable for structured data formats, including UMF. As a result, it already complies with the EU’s requirements. The ELISE ID Platform can also employ algorithms to transform unstructured data into structured data for subsequent ELISE rule-based processing. 

Integration with EU IT systems: The following figure shows how we propose integrating the ELISE ID Platform within the current and future large-scale EU IT systems. The ELISE ID Platform performs as CIR, the key interoperability component.

Biographic Matching & UMF Standards

Figure 1: WCC ELISE integration with EU IT systems

ELISE ID and EU interoperability in a nutshell

  • The EU’s VIS system already uses the ELISE ID Platform and has a proven high performance
  • ELISE complies with the EU legislative framework on interoperability
  • ELISE employs the POLE – People, Objects, Locations, Events – model. It is therefore ideally suited to structured data formats, such as UMF
  • ELISE integrates easily with other algorithms that can transform unstructured data into structured data. Rule-based systems embedded in ELISE can then process this data
  • EU interoperability encourages the reuse of IT systems. So reusing the ELISE out-of-the-box solution for the CIR reduces the risks and costs of developing from scratch

In conclusion

Data quality and access to data in the EU’s new information architecture for internal security, border, and migration management pose significant challenges. However, by delivering high-quality biographic matching and meeting UMF standards, the ELISE ID Platform can mitigate these challenges. As a result, eu-LISA recognizes that the ELISE ID Platform offers interoperability in compliance with the EU legislative framework. What is more, it is a solution that we can easily integrate into the EU’s existing and future IT infrastructure.

If you want to learn more about the out-of-the-box Identity Matching solutions from WCC, then please get in touch.

Article by: Amr el Rahwan
Published on: February 22, 2021

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