London’s Stansted Airport has begun using biometric e-passport gates that use facial recognition technology to process incoming passengers.
Passengers with new e-passports traveling to the UK via Stansted can use the Autogates, which scan their face and check their passport photo in seconds – both helping to save time in line and provide a more secure and efficient check-in.
A live image of the passenger standing at the gate is captured and biometric technology then compares this with the image stored on the chip embedded within the passport by measuring specific facial points. If there is a match and they clear security, the automatic gates allow the traveler across the border.
Though many countries have not introduced biometrics (fingerprint, facial, DNA and/or iris recognition) into the equation, simple electronic passports – passports that contain a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chip – are increasing in popularity around the world.
These chips embedded in the passport contain all the same information as non-electronic passports such as the passengers name, date of birth, sex, place of birth and nationality.
Biometric passports contain the same chip and the same information, but go a step further to include scans of a passenger’s physical characteristics.
As of October 2009, over 79 countries had introduced biometric passports and over 100 million ePassports had been issued globally. With over 70 million new ePassports being issued every year, it is estimated that over the next ten years, most of the 750 million passports currently in use will be replaced by electronic passports.
And with the demand for e-passports increasing, security paper manufacturers are seeing an increase in business.
In January, Vancouver-based Fortress Paper was awarded a contract to make 2.5 million e-passports which will be enabled with RFID chips and have the capability of storing biometric data (read “Fortress Paper gets electronic passport contract”).
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