London airport introduces biometric scanners

New biometric gates at London's Stansted Airport scan your facial features before allowing you to cross the border.  Photo courtesy Passenger Terminal Today.

New biometric gates at London's Stansted Airport scan your facial features before allowing you to cross the border. Photo courtesy Passenger Terminal Today.

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”).

Fingerprint Sri Lanka: “UK’s Stansted Airport deploys biometric e-passport gates”
Passenger Terminal Today: “Stansted deploys 3M biometric passport gates”
Fortress Paper: “What are ePassports?”


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  1. I would like to exchange links with your site globalpapersecurity.com
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    Posted by Shaio | July 31, 2010, 6:26 pm
  2. [...] are now looking to install facial recognition gates in place of IRIS terminals. This technology has already been instituted at London’s Stansted Airport, and will be introduced at 15 other airport terminals throughout the UK in the coming [...]

    Posted by UK Airports Scrap Iris Scanners In Favour Of E-Passports | February 24, 2012, 10:10 am

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