Australia has plans to replace passports with facial recognition technology

Image via GovTechWorks

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is pursuing bids from the commercial sector to develop a facial, iris and fingerprint recognition system for its major airports and sea ports. A recent government report details how it aims to enable commuters to pass through, without presenting a passport, by the end of the year.

The Australian government's proposal is a product of the government's 'Seamless Traveller' initiative - a scheme which provides $99.7 (AUD) million worth of investment for development of automated biometric processing at the key transport hotspots. The anticipated infrastructure would replace the nation's current dependence on 'SmartGates', an electronic border control system that requires manual scanning of passports.

According to Peter Dutton, Australia's Immigration Minister, the goal is for more than 90 per cent of passengers to avoid manual processing by border control staff. As security analyst John Coyne aptly suggests, travelers could "literally just walk out like at a domestic airport" decreasing travel times and reducing queues.

It should of course be considered that, for the system to work effectively, passengers would have to forsake their valuable biometric information privacy. In a world which is increasingly conscientious of threats to digital rights, the project will need to persuade its users that any collected biometric data is secure.

Source: Minister for Immigration and Border Protection via Engadget

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