South Africa’s efforts to introduce biometric screening at ports of entry are well underway, according to a new statement from Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.
First announced in November, the project seems to have been initiated quickly. The government introduced its Movement Control System (eMCS) Biometric Pilot project at Lanseria International Airport that same month, and this month it has brought it to international airports in Cape Town, King Shaka, and OR Tambo. Gigaba explained that the four pilot sites are only testing the technology through “selected processing counters,” but that this process would be expanded early next year, with the first phase of the biometric trail to conclude by the end of March.
The multimodal system captures both facial and fingerprint biometrics, with all ten prints collected in the initial registration, and only single fingers used in subsequent screenings. It’s starting out as a means of screening at ports of entry, but the ultimate aim is to scan travelers who are both arriving and departing.
Gigaba stressed that “South Africa is not the only country in the world” implementing this kind of biometric screening, and rightly so. As Europe’s refugee migration crisis continues, biometric screening is becoming increasingly useful for its benefits in both security and efficiency; and as concerns about terrorism mount, countries like the US are looking to enhance their use of biometrics at the border as well. It’s part of a much larger, long-term trend underway across the globe.
December 17, 2015 – by Alex Perala