04:36 GMT +310 December 2018
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    Facial Recognition System to Be Used Instead of Passports at Australian Airports

    © Photo : Rex Features
    Asia & Pacific
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    Australia is on track to replace passports with face recognition technology at airports in the next two or three years.

    The planned transition is part of the Seamless Traveller initiative announced by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in 2015 that aims to simplify air traveler processing. By using fingerprints or iris or facial structure recognition, the system will allow those entering or leaving Australia to avoid irritating and time-consuming paperwork.

    According to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, the goal is to automate 90% of processing in the country's international airports by 2020. Under the new "contactless" system, paper incoming passenger cards would be abolished and manned counters will be replaced by automatic electronic booths.

    Before introducing the program at a major airport in November, the department will first test it in July at Canberra Airport, which handles limited flights to New Zealand and Singapore.

    Dutton also stressed that the more than $70 million upgrade is expected to both boost tourism and enhance security at air and sea ports, as biometrics is a much more reliable way to detect threats than just having people scan passports.

    "So there is the ability through this technology to improve detections of people that might be coming into our country to do the wrong thing," he claimed.

    Australia is not the only country working on the implementation of face recognition technology. The US Customs and Border Protection launched it at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport to help verify the identity of people entering the US.    

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    airport security, biometrics, Australia
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