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Security flaw places international travelers at risk

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As the search continues for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the tragedy exposes a large gap in security and places international travelers at risk. Information released on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, might be a relief that the two passengers traveling on stolen European passports were not associated with terrorism. But this points out the ease at which the Iranian nationals were able to evade detection by authorities who did not utilize a database operated by INTERPOL to detect lost and stolen passports, according to Homeland Security Today.

The INTERPOL Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database was started in 2002 to 'to help member countries secure their borders and protect their citizens from terrorists and other dangerous criminals using fraudulent travel documents.' As of March 2014, the database contains record for over 40 million missing travel documents from 167 countries.

The 'Best Practices in Combating Terrorism' released by INTERPOL refers to the Stolen and Lost Travel Document database as crucial for border control agencies to determine if that document is in their system within a few seconds.

Primary users of the SLTD include the United States (with approximately 250 million searches per year), the United Kingdom (120 million/year), and the United Arab Emirates (50 million/year), according to Global News. Further, the average number of queries per member nation is only 60,000 per year.



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