At Manchester airport in the UK, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has launched a trial face recognition program at the airport’s Terminal One to help with pedestrian congestion and security concerns, according to a Channel 4 News article. The new security gates can only be used by adult citizens of the UK and EU who have electronic passports.
The new system is another security layer at UK borders on top of the fingerprint visas and ID cards for foreign nationals. The new face recognition gates work by comparing the information stored on a user’s passport to the information gathered from a live facial scan. If that information either doesn’t match up or the individual is on a watch list, they will be instructed to see an immigration officer before moving forward. The gates themselves are unmanned, but are monitored by border security personnel.
For the trial there will be five facial recognition gates available at Manchester’s Terminal One for the 80,000 visitors it sees each day. If the trial is successful, however, they are expected to expand the system to the rest of the airport. Additionally, a similar trial is planned for the UK’s Stansted airport later this year.
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