Immigration targets 'problem travellers' with analytics

 

Social media analysis still out of reach.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship will deploy a new risk tiering system at all international airports to improve its ability to identify “problem travellers” in real time.

The so-called border risk identification system was built and tested in-house over four months, using the open source R environment and about eight years of historical data.

A prototype was deployed in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports in late January last year, powered by two Dell desktops.

DIAC’s intent management and analytics director Klaus Felsche said the new system had halved the number of travellers undergoing additional checks at airport immigration points.

The department has $1 million in Australian Government funding to integrate it with border control systems in production at all international airports by March next year.

“Before we did this, we were pulling 2500 people every month in Sydney Airport alone off for additional checking, using what were business-type rules [that were] manual to a large degree,” he said.

“[Of those, we had] 55 cancellations. What that means is we had sufficient evidence to actually cancel a person’s visa – which is a lot harder than refusing one – and sending them back at the airline’s expense.

“Now we’re pulling up about 1200 to 1500 a month, so around half, and we’re getting over 60 effective refusals.”

Felsche said each of the refusals saved the Australian Government $60,000 on average.

He told the CeBIT Big Data conference last week that DIAC was sitting on a “platinum mine” of data, with records of more than 500 million border crossings and gigabytes of unstructured intelligence.

DIAC had two data warehouses – a legacy Oracle system and a newer DB2 system – that fed a third sandboxed data store.

Analysts used the third store, as well as records management (TRIM) and intelligence (IMtel) systems to build and test models without affecting the integrity of warehoused data.

Felsche noted that the department was unable to tap into much of other departments’ data stores and social media due to Australian privacy laws.

In January, two friends were detained by US authorities at the Los Angeles International Airport after one tweeted that he would “go and destroy America” – when he reportedly meant that he wanted to party.

“We have to deal with privacy issues and data management issues,” Felsche told iTnews of the challenges of using social media as an input into DIAC’s risk calculations.

“We have to build systems to store data, potentially integrate it with data that could be quite sensitive, particularly if it’s linked with immigration records.

“So the aim is yes, we would, but not yet. I’ve got much more core, core business to deliver against first which is easier and within my reach.”

Building without a budget

Felsche credited DIAC’s investment in people, not systems, for its ability to build and test the border risk identification system at relatively low cost.

DIAC analysts initially obtained input data from files that were updated hourly in a group drive. The system returned predictions to airport staff through Excel spreadsheets.

The analytics engine initially ran on three Mac desktops – with a total of 32 processor cores – purchased for a total of $9000 and networked through the Snowflake library in R.

After weeks of having the Sydney Airport “bombarded with 48 Excel spreadsheets every day”, Felsche purchased an off-the-shelf version of database application FileMaker Pro to improve user experience.

Analysts visited airport staff to fine-tune the dashboard. DIAC also consulted with the Commonwealth Bank, Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink and New Zealand Government on its models.

By the time Felsche put forward a formal proposal for funding to the department in May last year, the prototype had already won the support of staff on the ground.

“If I had gone to some of the vendors and said, ‘Give me a solution’, by the time we’ve finished the proposal paperwork and tendering process, we wouldn’t have had any money to buy anything,” he noted.

“If you’re smart about it, almost anybody can do what we’ve done; I wanted to invest in smart people rather than invest in platforms.”

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Immigration targets 'problem travellers' with analytics
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1429

Vote