2020 Women in Biometrics Award winner: Annet Steenbergen, Government of Aruba
22 May, 2020
category: Biometrics, Government, Transit
Annet Steenbergen is the co-founder/initiator of the Aruba Happy Flow biometric border control project for the Government of Aruba. The journey to Happy Flow began 25 years ago when she stumbled into a job with the Dutch Immigration Naturalization Service. “Before long, I worked mostly in border management and border management policy,” Steenbergen says. “I think it was 2000, 2001, the topic of biometrics came up. I just remember that topic was new, and they said, maybe you could do something with this.”
Steenbergen is working on the pilot for Aruba Happy Flow Phase 2. It will facilitate a seamless biometric identity check from arrival to car rental pick up to hotel check in.
Steenbergen is now internationally known for her work on secure and convenient border control. In 2012, the Netherlands and Aruba signed a declaration of intent to establish passenger and customs preclearance in Aruba. Steenbergen’s vision led to the first single token initiative in the world that creates a seamless passenger flow from curb to gate through the reuse of biometrics and advanced cooperation between the public and the private sector.
“Solving any issue is not just one party in the world of flying, but it’s always together with more stakeholders,” Steenbergen says. She facilitated cooperation between the governments of Aruba and the Netherlands, KLM Airlines, the Aruba Airport Authority, and the biometric vendor to provide biometric-based security. The passenger experience was boosted, and there was room for Happy Flow to expand to other airlines and countries.
Steenbergen’s proudest accomplishment:
It’s a cliché that if you work together, things are better, right? But this is the embodiment of ‘it’s true.’ So this only works if you work together, and it only works if you position yourself as equal partners. For me, that is crucial about this, and it’s beautiful about this. It’s not easy. It doesn’t happen overnight. But that is, I think, my greatest accomplishment, together with the fact that we take privacy very seriously. We’ve always followed the ‘privacy by design’ principle and adhere to GDPR standards. So that is also, I think, extremely important in this. It’s passenger centric. So it’s designed around the passenger. It makes all the stakeholders think differently.
Steenbergen is working on the pilot for Aruba Happy Flow Phase 2. It will connect off-airport stakeholders to a seamless traveler arrival experience by adding one secure identity check based on the e-passport. That will facilitate a seamless biometric identity check from arrival to car rental pick up to hotel check in. It will provide real-time process data and flight information. The anticipated release date of September 2020 is pending due to COVID-19.
The Women in Biometrics Awards, co-founded by the Security Industry Association (SIA) and SecureIDNews, will recognize five winners during the virtual 2020 SIA GovSummit June 1-4, 2020. Sponsors of the program include IDEMIA, Biometric Update, and the Women in Security Forum.