Face recognition scanners to trial at Manchester Airport - Manchester Airport News

Airport news for Manchester on 21/08/2008.

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Passengers’ faces will be scanned by the new machines, and then compare the scan with biometric passport images. Automated gates will open if the images register a match.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, unveiled the plan today, and has claimed that it will not only improve border security, but also shorten the time spent in immigration queues.

Airline passengers who have agreed to face and fingerprint checks are currently fast-tracked through the process at Heathrow Airport.

Critics of the plan are saying that the technology could well generate many false readings, meaning that passengers in possession of genuine passports are still refused entry through the automatic gates.

Concerns have also been raised that individuals behaving suspiciously, up until now detected by passport officials, will slip through unnoticed.

A trial face recognition scheme will commence at Manchester Airport and, should it prove successful, will be launched at other airports across the country.

Initially, the facial scanners will be used for passengers entering from the EU, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The process is intended to reduce the time that travellers spend in passport control checks.

Ministers supporting the scheme have insisted that the technology is fail-safe, and that if someone is refused automatic entry, an immigration officer will conduct a follow-up check.

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