Yesterday Peruvian Minister of the Interior Carlos Basombrio and United States Ambassador to Lima Brian A. Nichols officially inaugurated the implementation of a for Peru new air passenger control system that meets the highest international standards.
The Advance Passenger Information System, or APIS, is an electronic data interchange system established by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and used by numerous countries around the globe, including for example the US, Canada, China, Australia, UK, Germany, Russia, Spain and now Peru.
When travelling to or from certain countries, passengers have to provide advance passenger information (API) before check-in, otherwise they will be denied to fly. The data collected in the system includes the passport data, such as full name, gender, date of birth, nationality, passport number and country of residence, and other information such as address in the visiting country, of all air travelers and flight crews allowing a pre-arrival screening of anyone wishing to enter the country.
So, airlines with destination Peru have to make sure that these passenger and crew details are entered into the system and are required to send it electronically to Peruvian Immigrations and Customs before takeoff. The received info is then cross-checked with the databases of Peru's National Police force (PNP) and Interpol. Before the plane even arrives in the country immigration and custom officials already know who is visiting and can immediately act if and where necessary,
While critics around the globe are alarmed about this additional extensive data collection and the in their opinion careless handling of sensible personal data in the APIS system which allows adding additional information about each passenger and cross referencing with other systems, numerous international organizations including the UN and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) see APIS as a tool that enhances security, fights international terrorism and prevents transnational organized criminals to enter the country.
During the system's opening ceremony Peru’s Interior Minister as well praised APIS' role in strengthening border and customs security preventive measures. He as well stated that a facial recognition capability will be added to the APIS process later this year.