Interpol Stolen and Lost Travel Documents Database

INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database enables INTERPOL National Central Bureaus and other authorized law enforcement entities (such as immigration and border control officers) to ascertain the validity of a travel document in seconds. The SLTD database was created in 2002, following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, to help member countries secure their borders and protect their citizens from terrorists and other dangerous criminals using fraudulent travel documents.

Starting with a few thousand records from just 10 countries, the SLTD database has grown exponentially: as of March 2014, it contains information on more than 40 million travel documents (passports, identity documents, visas) reported lost or stolen by 167 countries.  Law enforcement officials at INTERPOL National Central Bureaus and other locations with access to INTERPOL’s databases through the I-24/7 secure global police communication system – such as airports and border crossings – can query the passports of individuals travelling internationally against the SLTD, and immediately determine if the document has been reported as lost or stolen so they can take the necessary actions.

The database was searched by member countries more than 800 million times in 2013, resulting in some 67,000 positive responses, or ‘hits’. So you can see very easily that the share of “positive hits” is very very low, even when the database is used from 166 different countries!

Details of stolen and lost passports are submitted directly to the STLD database by INTERPOL NCBs and law enforcement agencies via INTERPOL’s I-24/7 system. Only the country which issued a document can add it to the database.

INTERPOL is therefore not automatically notified of all passport thefts occurring worldwide, and the SLTD database is not connected to national lists of stolen or lost passports. As such, information on national statistics must be requested directly from the country in question.

In order to increase the use of the SLTD database worldwide, INTERPOL encourages each member country to extend access to the I-24/7 network – and through it access to its criminal databases including the STLD – to major airports, border crossings and other strategic locations. This requires the installation of technical equipment or specialized software.

Despite the potential availability of the STLD database, not all countries systematically search the database to determine whether an individual is using a fraudulent passport.

To help identify and stop criminals from using lost or stolen travel documents long before they get to the airport or the border, INTERPOL has developed I-Checkit . The initiative will allow private sector partners in the travel, hotel and banking industries to screen customers’ documents against the SLTD database when they book a plane ticket, check into a hotel or open a bank account. A positive ‘hit’ will be relayed to law enforcement, to take any necessary actions.

The success of the new development of I-Checkit is in question as local regulations have to be considered. In my opinion the entire passport process chain hast to be “re-invented” as the current system has a too high “failure rate”. A recent Australian study e.g. () showed a 15% error rate in matching the person to the passport photo they were displaying. Of course we all humans and we fail. Automated electronic passport gate are on the rise and we should assume they can be less cheated/tricked. We need “REAL (TIME)” biometric verification to get a most reliable result proofing you are who you are!


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