London’s Heathrow airport announced this month that it will begin using facial biometric scanners to beef up security at its international flight terminals.
The facial recognition scanners will be a second step in a security process installed at Heathrow. Currently, the airport uses the Atkins Passenger Authentication Scanning System (PASS) – a system that maintains passport security through low-level biometrics such as name identification, birthdate recognition and fingerprint technology.
Once an international passenger has checked in with their electronic passport – a passport that contains essential information such as the passenger’s name, age, sex, place of birth, nationality and, in some cases, fingerprints – using the PASS system, they will then be required to proceed to the facial recognition scanners to complete their check-in.
Using an infrared flash, the facial scanners will then take a photo of the passenger’s face and match the biometric information obtained from the facial scan with information contained on their electronic passport.
The scanning and verifying process should only take about 4.7 seconds, according to an article published by tech blog Singularity Hub.
More and more airports around the world are looking to increased biometrics as a way to make traveling safer and more efficient.
“There has been a drive over the past few years by governments – with e-passports and e-visas – to include a biometric in the travel document to make sure the person is the legitimate owner of that document,” said Sean Farrell, the Sita biometrics portfolio director during a webinar on aviation information technology last year. “We’re going to see biometrics grow very quickly from border management to other places at the airport.”
Singularity Hub: “Heathrow Airport To Adopt Face Scanners To Screen Passengers”
The Transnational: “Experts: More Biometric Checks Coming To Airports”
Homeland Security News Wire: “Heathrow Deploys Face Recognition Scanners”
The Guardian: “New facial recognition scanners to be introduced at Heathrow”