Why Name Matching Is Essential for Modern Border Security

Homeland Security, Identity Resolution, Name Matching

name matching software

In television dramas, border officers scan a passport and voila! They instantly find a match for the bad guy. In the real world, name matching isn’t nearly so simple or easy. Even so, powerful new tools such as name matching software are making border security more effective than ever.

Name matching is often used by financial institutions to identify fraud and money laundering, but the best name matching software can also be used as an essential tool for border security. Name matching software gives government agencies the capability to find bad actors and keep us safe.

Name Matching Software and Border Security: Modern Tools for Modern Problems

In December 2009, the so-called “Underwear Bomber” was able to obtain a visa because of a simple misspelling of his name. As a result, he very nearly detonated a bomb on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day. Then in April 2013, the U.S. allowed Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to slip through the cracks, also because of a misspelling.

NBC News reported that after returning from Dagestan for terrorist training, “Tsarnaev was supposed to be pulled aside for questioning at JFK airport because he was considered potentially armed and dangerous, but he slipped through undetected because someone had misspelled his last name in a security database.”

To avoid these kinds of mistakes in the future, name matching software must work accurately to match names, various spellings, aliases, and combinations thereof — even across multiple languages and scripts — against terrorist watchlists, criminal databases, and other registries. Just as importantly, this software must be able to cope with vast quantities of data and operate in real time. With these advanced capabilities, it’s easy to see why advanced name matching software has become essential to border security. Financial institutions may suffer from the loss of millions of dollars due to fraud or civil penalties in the event of a name matching failure, but in the case of border security, it can cause the loss of lives.

In the past, name matching software just wasn’t sophisticated enough to provide the protection we need in a post-9/11 world. Today, advanced name matching technology gives border security agents the tools they need to keep us safe 24/7/365.