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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024
Tuesday May 21, 2024

UK Airports to Ditch Passports in Favor of Facial Recognition for ‘Frictionless Travel’

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Cutting-edge e-gates aim to revolutionize Britain’s border security with AI Facial Recognition

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In a groundbreaking move, the UK Home Office unveils plans to eliminate the need for passports at British borders by introducing state-of-the-art facial recognition technology at airports. The introduction of new e-gates aims to usher in an era of “frictionless travel,” aligning the UK’s border controls with international standards.

Designed to bring the British border up to a gold standard seen in other countries, the advanced e-gates will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) for more efficient and secure facial recognition. Notably, Dubai currently employs facial recognition for 50 nationalities, and Australia has successfully implemented next-generation e-gates.

Phil Douglas, the director-general of Border Force, emphasized that AI would establish an “intelligent border” using “much more frictionless facial recognition than we currently do.” The technology is expected to provide comprehensive upfront information about travelers, including previous visits to the UK, compliance with immigration laws, and any records on security systems.

“We will know a lot more information about people upfront. We will know if they’ve been in the UK before. We’ll know what their compliance with immigration laws is. And we’ll know if there’s any records of them on our security systems. So there will be some people who won’t be getting on the plane,” stated Phil Douglas.

Trials for the innovative technology are reportedly set to commence this year, signaling a transformative shift in border control procedures. Currently, the UK has around 270 e-gates, facilitating expedited travel across the border.

This development coincides with the ongoing implementation of a single Electronic Travel Authorisation system, replacing the existing patchwork of tourist visa rules. Following a US-style model, travelers will pay for a travel pass and complete a security questionnaire, with full implementation anticipated by the end of 2025.

Additionally, cross-border digital IDs are undergoing testing, with the possibility of passports being replaced in the future. Since August 28, 2023, Finnish border guards have been conducting trials at Helsinki Airport using Digital Travel Credentials (DTC). The trial, limited to Finnish citizens on Finnair flights, explores the potential of digital IDs as a passport alternative.

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