London City Airport has installed five new gates using facial recognition technology. The ePassport gates are intended to both increase security and to provide a faster, automated route through security screening for passengers.
It’s part of a larger-scale rollout of the technology throughout the country; at the moment, there are 109 such gates at 18 different airports nation-wide, with more on the way over the next two years. As the country’s Immigration and Security Minister, James Brokenshire, explains, “Keeping the UK’s border secure is our priority. At the same time we want to welcome visitors, tourists, and businesspeople… Using the latest technology helps us to do both and is popular with passengers.”
It’s a striking contrast to the country’s similar biometric security initiative from a decade ago, which was aborted in 2008; now, more than a million passengers pass through the UK’s ePassport gates each month. The shift could be a product of several factors including technological advancement and broad changes in cultural attitudes as biometric technology continues to infiltrate everyday life; in any case, it’s part of a growing trend as countries like the US, Singapore, and India also explore biometric security at their transportation terminals.
November 14, 2014 – by Alex Perala