Since 2002 Australia has been testing biometric technology at its airports for use with Qantas staff. However, Australian Customs Service has announced that by June 2009 there will be biometric gates at all international airports in the country.
The facial recognition systems, called SmartGate, have been implemented at Brisbane, Cairns and Melbourne airports and are available for those citizens using e-passports.
Australia decided to take the proactive approach in easing traveler processing time as its forecasts show annual traveler numbers at Australian airports will reach nine million by 2016.
The SmartGates work by crosschecking the data scanned from the chip in an e-passport with the data obtained from an image of the person. The SmartGates will also be available for use by New Zealanders with e-passports.
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