Global Security: security in a nutshell – Part One
Increasing globalization, in particular, has led to profound implications for security. Technological advances have led to the development of information systems that help governments share information, keeping their borders and citizens secure. Interoperability between these systems is therefore essential to their success. In this series of three global security blogs, we aim to clarify the different types of identity data, standards, and technology that can contribute to optimum interoperability.
Modern security threats
Security has always been a fundamental human need, ever since our ancestors first sought the protection of caves to hide them from wild animals. Naturally, the threats have changed over time. We now live in a global economy with extensive travel opportunities and cross-border trade in goods, services, and information. As a result, today’s governments face numerous border control and security challenges, including mass immigration, criminal activities, and terrorism. And since 2020, governments have been faced with the additional challenge of containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Classifying global security threats
Worldwide, many organizations have introduced standards to improve the collection, identification, and classification of criminal threats. One such example is the International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes (ICCS), published by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC).
Eurostat has cooperated closely with UNODC to adopt guidelines for collecting data on crime and criminal justice, improving the collection and processing of global data.
The International Classification of Crime for Statistics
Adopted in 2015, the ICCS is the first common framework to group all kinds of criminal offenses into categories used to produce and monitor worldwide crime statistics. You can find an overview of the classification system here.
- The ICCS is the first international classification of crime for statistical purposes, and will have far-reaching implications for crime data collection at all levels
- It is a hierarchical classification whose categories are mutually exclusive and comprehensive
- The ICCS is built on behavioral descriptions and not on legal code. Hence it is applicable across jurisdictions
- The ICCS is also a tool to understand crime patterns and characteristics
- The implementation of the ICCS will improve data consistency within and between countries
The ICCS classifies crimes into different categories, including trafficking, smuggling, and terrorism. Based on internationally agreed concepts and definitions, ICCS improves analytical capabilities at both the international and national levels. Before this, law enforcement agencies and police followed solely scientific methods to solve crimes and identify suspects and victims. The ICCS is a vital tool to help understand the extent of worldwide criminality and its drivers.
Global security solutions
The events of 9/11 resulted in a radical shift in the approach taken to tackle terrorism during the last two decades. Our fight against terrorism became international. Creating a global security framework called for advanced information technology to help combat the threat. This motivated WCC to develop Identity-based information systems capable of quickly identifying suspects and victims using biographic and biometric data or metadata.
The science of Dactyloscopy – fingerprints – has been used since the 19th century in forensic science for identification purposes. As technology has developed, for example, to include facial recognition, computer-aided systems have in turn become central to solving crimes, achieving security goals, and supporting the fight against terrorism.
However, although identification systems are essential for global security, government agencies often created their systems as silos. Information gaps were the result. Criminal organizations quickly learn to exploit communication and exchange failures, and suspects can fall through the cracks.
Closing information security gaps
The closure of security gaps is essential if we are to achieve true interoperability between global information systems used for border security, counter-terrorism, and public safety. In the following two blogs, we will focus on the different types of identity data, standards, technology, and systems that can achieve this. In particular, we will examine the new European Universal Message Format (UMF) and the POLE (Persons, Objects, Locations, and Event) standards.