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Facial recognition now at all of Australia’s intn’l airports

July 1, 2011


Darwin International Airport has today launched its own SmartGate counters, ensuring that all eight of Australia’s international airports have the face-recognition technology.

(Ah ain’t long for this whorl image by
Chad Miller, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The technology uses electronic information embedded in e-passports and face-recognition technology to perform customs and immigration checks. During immigration, users scan their e-passports, which are equipped with an embedded chip, and have their photograph taken.

The technology maps the underlying bone structure of the face by measuring the distances between defining features such as the eyes, nose, mouth and ears. The measurements are digitally coded for comparison and verification purposes, and a mathematical algorithm is applied to determine whether the photo of the traveller’s face matches their e-passport photo.

It was first implemented at Brisbane International Airport in 2007, and since then it has been used by 3.5 million travellers, with close to one million using it in this year alone.

In this year’s Biometrics Institute Industry Survey, which canvasses opinions from 137 user organisations in Australia and New Zealand, respondents also indicated that biometrics at the border had been one of the most significant developments in the past year, and that border security and immigration services would be the major future applications for biometrics.

The survey predicted that the next areas to see a growth in interest would be the ability to perform biometric scanning on moving targets, followed by the integration of biometrics into existing systems. The survey indicated that areas requiring further research included accuracy, algorithm performance and spoofing.

This year represents the second time that it has been conducted. In the first year of the survey, 60 per cent of the 157 respondents indicated that increased user acceptance of biometrics had been one of the most significant developments in the last year. That figure dropped to just over 30 per cent in this year’s survey.

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