Officials say automatic screening more accurate than checks by humans.
A face recognition system will scan faces and match them to biometric chips on passports. Photograph: Image Source/Getty
Airline passengers are to be screened with facial recognition technology rather than checks by passport officers, in an attempt to improve security and ease congestion, the Guardian can reveal.
From summer, unmanned clearance gates will be phased in to scan passengers’ faces and match the image to the record on the computer chip in their biometric passports.
Border security officials believe the machines can do a better job than humans of screening passports and preventing identity fraud. The pilot project will be open to UK and EU citizens holding new biometric passports.
But there is concern that passengers will react badly to being rejected by an automated gate. To ensure no one on a police watch list is incorrectly let through, the technology will err on the side of caution and is likely to generate a small number of “false negatives” – innocent passengers rejected because the machines cannot match their appearance to the records.