Three months before the elections, Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec is trying to ensure maximum safety against airport terrorist threats. Besides the National Security Unit, which will reveal suspects of terrorism according to data provided by the airlines, the Ministry of Interior also wants to invest in new cameras with facial recognition software.
“It is not a panacea, but it could help,” thinks Miroslav Mareš, an expert on organized crime.
Starting next year, Prague Václav Havel Airport will have fourteen police officers of the National Security Unit, processing passenger name record data. Their talk is to go through airlines’ data to find individuals involved in crime or terrorism. The specialized unit will check personal data provided by airlines. The number of officers will continue to increase.
“Even though we could reveal some dangerous people here and there, we are risking a high concentration of large data at one place. If the database were hacked, it would be a significant interference with people’s personal rights,” states Mareš. The National Unit’s task is to unravel networks of organized crime and fight against terrorism.
The most common case the customs run into is smuggling drugs in packages. “We tend to find packages sent through the Czech Post. When it comes to individuals, there is only a few of them per year. The last person that we detained was smuggling hash in a double-bottom suitcase. We caught him in June,” says Šárka Miškovská. The amount of drug smuggled has increased since the past year. Marijuana is the most exported drug.
A camera security system with biometric face recognition software will help the National Security Unit with identifying criminals. The Ministry of Interior’s 71 million CZK order was approved by the government on Monday.
Facial recognition objects are already in full function at the airport.