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Face Screening Coming to UK Airports For Summer Travel

This summer, airline passengers in the UK will be screened with face recognition technology, instead of being checked out by passport officials. The hope is that widespread use of the technology will improve security and speed up travel time.

So how will it work? Unmanned gates will screen passenger faces and match images to those stored on computer chips in biometric passports. Anyone on a police list will not be let though, along with an unknown number of "false negatives." The lines will be open to those with EU and UK biometric passports.

Can machines do a better and faster security job than humans? Even if they can, I'm not sure whether biometric identification is the "silver bullet" to terrorism, or a risk to civil liberties. Also, unlike a regular passport number, if you lose a biometric id you've lost it for life.

Do you trust unmanned clearance gates? Are you worried that this technology could be breached? And on a whole other level, do you think a significant number of airport personnel will eventually lose their jobs?


stephley stephley 9 years
I know it involves irises and fingerprints, and articles talk a lot about photographing people - so maybe a well-done prosthetic nose or something like that could get past. Of course, if you're sending a suicide bomber to the U.S., he/she probably isn't in any databank, so the system isn't going to pick up on their intent.
zeze zeze 9 years
interesting thought cabaker, I never thought of that. I wonder if it works by non-changeable things (like the pupil of your eye, I know I am getting very robocop here and I don't know much about this so it might sound ridiculous) or if it's by plain old face recognition?
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Can't they just get some decent costume grade facial makeup and prostetics and fake it?
Papaver Papaver 9 years
1984 :(
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
Too much Big Brother. Next thing it will be DNA, no ear-identification next, then DNA. Then a mark on the forehead or forearm. Then Armageddon. Then the end of the earth as we know it.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I'm torn. On the one hand I don't think we have a right to privacy in public places and on the other hand, I am a known terrorist, so this is sort of upsetting.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
I agree with Stephley this is probably not the best idea ever. It will only keep out KNOWN terrorist and those on the do not fly list. That said, it will be kinda cool to go through it! Very minority report, Zeze
stephley stephley 9 years
I thought this already was in limited use by a couple of airlines in the U.S. I interviewed someone about the technology a couple of years ago and I thought then that it sounds better than it will be in reality - false negatives are an issue and it's not going to pick up on potential terrorist who isn't on any police list yet. It could make passenger screening faster, but do little for overall security.
zeze zeze 9 years
I just got one of these passports, they seem kind of cool, but I am a sucker for technology. It's very "Minority Report." I don't understand how it risks civil liberties though? Wouldn't it be better that a non-human inspects rather then someone who has the biases of a human, although, I really don't know the extent of the technology.
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