Orlando: Face recognition for biometric entry/exit

Facial recognition to identify all international passengers at Orlando airport (Business Traveller)

“Instead of handling paper documents, boarding passengers will queue in turnstile-like lanes, stepping onto yellow footprints and looking into a camera to have their face scanned. The scan will then be compared to images obtained from passports or other travel documents to confirm identity.”

The aspect of this program dealing with facial recognition for departing passengers is especially interesting. Airline gate agents probably aren’t trained to detect identity fraud to the degree that customs agents are. Their priority is to board the aircraft as efficiently as possible.

Recording the biometric transaction will also begin to provide rigorous data that may also inform efforts to meet the repeated US Congress requirements for biometric exit technology.

Much more information with pictures and video is available at the Orlando Sentinel.

US: San Jose airport/Alaska Airlines test program for fingerprint boarding

Alaska Airlines: Fingerprints replace boarding passes (Desert Sun)

Those who signed up for the test went through an enrollment process that took about 20 minutes. After that, they were permitted to use their fingerprints to access the TSA screening area through the CLEAR lane. Fingerprint readers at the boarding gates were able to pull up a passenger’s boarding pass for the gate agent to review.

“The feedback was very positive,” said Tolzman. “On a survey scale of ‘dissatisfied’ to ‘delighted’ over 85 percent of the participants were delighted with the system.”

With the Colorado Rockies stadium access, that’s news of two innovative CLEAR deployments in two days.

US: Biometric entry-exit system getting off the ground in Atlanta

Fingerprint scanner tested on foreigners leaving Atlanta (Security Info Watch)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers began using the devices last week to scan some foreign passengers on selected flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, agency spokeswoman Jennifer Evanitsky said Tuesday. The test will be expanded in the fall to airports in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington.

The US Congress first required such a system in a law passed in 1996.

US visa delays: It’ll all be over soon

US visa processing back to normal after computer glitch (Dawn)

US visa processing has returned to full strength after hardware problems, the State Department said on Monday, noting that 410,000 visas were issued in a week as officials scrambled to clear a huge backlog.

According to the article, 410,000 visas have been issued in the last week. Compared to the average of 50,000 daily visa requests (350,000 per week), that would clear about 60,000 applications in the backlog if June is an average month for visa applications.

US: Visa systems issues related to hardware failure

Hardware glitch in Washington freezes US visa issuance worldwide (Times of India)

The State Department said the June 9 failure was preventing it from processing and transmitting the mandatory security-related biometric data checks routinely carried out at embassies and consulates worldwide, and it could take up to a week to fix it.

This Wednesday release from the State Department doesn’t contain much detail that isn’t included in the Times of India article linked above.

US: Face recognition ID check trial concluded at Dulles Airport

First phase of facial recognition trial at Virginia airport ends (Planet Biometrics)

The system captures live facial images of travelers entering the U.S., and compares those images against those stored electronically in travelers’ passports.

The most interesting thing is that this hasn’t been standard operating procedure for years already, as it’s hard to conceive of a simpler facial recognition application. The hardest part would seem to be retrieving the image from the chip embedded in most modern passports.

Canada announces biometric requirement for visa holders

Biometric data collection evolves and expands in Canada (CBC)

Citizenship and Immigration Canada told CBC News that digital photos and fingerprints are “the only biometrics data applicants will have to provide” under the government’s plan for expanded collection of data. Visitors will have to pay $85 to cover the cost of data collection.

Travelers who don’t need a visa to travel to Canada are, apparently, unaffected.

IBIA objects to TSA’s planned identity management protocols for PreCheck

IBIA questions TSA plan on PreCheck expansion (Planet Biometrics)

The International Biometrics and Identification Association (IBIA) has objected to plans by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to exclusively use just biographic data solutions in an expansion of the PreCheck travel screening program.

There’s an interesting quote in the piece that compares what the TSA is proposing to the fraud prevention techniques commonly used by credit card companies.

That alone should give pause. For credit card companies, fraud is an actuarial problem. Credit card companies earn 3-4% on every transaction plus interest fees for carried balances. There’s plenty of room for both fraud and profit in that model.

The TSA’s job is different, and perhaps their fraud prevention techniques should be, too.

SIBA head testifies before congressional committee on border biometrics

Senate Homeland Security Committee calls SIBA’s Kephart to testify (Secure
Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA))

Testimony before the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee

Tracking the arrival and departure of foreign visitors to the United States is an essential part of immigration control, law enforcement and national security. The need for arrival controls is obvious, but recording departures is also important; without it, there is no way to know definitively whether travelers have left when they were supposed to. Biometric entry/exit and transfer solutions are proven in their feasibility, low cost, added security value, increased efficiencies, travel convenience, and accuracy. Good products are available off the shelf. They are flexible and built, and can be customized, for many environments. The biometric, secure document and identity management industry is well-versed in integration with back-end data systems while building in flexibility for the future. Biometric solutions such as facial recognition, fingerprints and iris scans assure identity when coupled with biographic information found in travel documents. Using only biographic information, however, such as names or passport numbers, provides no assurance that the person departing is the one whose original arrival was recorded.

The quote above is taken from the pdf linked to the article at top. The 29-page document is an excellent resource for those interested in the topic.

Don’t forget the biometrics

Denmark issued 10,947 passports without fingerprints (Customs Today)

The different municipalities of Denmark issued flawed passports without fingerprints, stated by the Customs authority. Earlier the Customs authorities discovered the mistake and informed the affect municipalities. Passports issued from 44 municipalities after the date of February 2nd are missing biometric fingerprints due to an error made by…

I wonder how the oversight was discovered.

UAE building out border biometrics

UAE will launch full biometric scanning systems at borders soon (Tnooz)

The United Arab Emirates is set to become one of the most technically advanced countries when it comes to border control. The Emirates will deploy a series of biometric e-gates at all entry points while also working to gather more biometric data to add to the fingerprints currently tracked in its biometric database.

The UAE is already one of the most eager adopters of border biometrics. That doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.

Security and Service

Concerns raised over mandatory fingerprinting for India visas (Travel Weekly)

The High Commission of India states on its website that, after outsourcing the process to a company called VFS, all applicants will need to be physically present at India Visa and Consular Services centres to submit an application and biometric data.

It says: “Biometric data collection, including fingerprint data and facial imagery will be a mandatory requirement for all visa applicants soon. As a result, all visa applicants will need to first apply online and, thereafter, be physically present (mandatorily) at India Visa and Consular Services centres, by appointment, for submission of visa application and biometric data enrolment.”

All security applications must strike a balance between the effectiveness of the security measures and the needs of the entity seeking enhanced security. As anyone who has ever seen a waste basket propping open an office door could tell you, better security usually requires sacrifices to efficiency. More security with more convenience is a tall order.

The article linked above highlights a case where the enhanced security of biometric visas for travelers to India from the UK has made the visa application process more complex and time consuming. In one sense, it’s bound to. Collecting more information takes more time. In the India visa case, however, it is taking a whole lot more time. So much more that people involved in Indian tourism are growing worried.

The unfortunate irony is that their ability to increase security and convenience at the same time is one of the things that make biometrics such a disruptive technology.

Better late than never

US customs allocated funding to test biometric exit app (Security Document World)

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill released on 9 January allocates US$3 million in funding for testing of a biometric exit app that would be used by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The funding will be used for a biometric exit mobile application demonstration at two airports, according to an explanatory note added to the bill.

The idea of implementing an exit system at all US ports of entry was first touted in 1996 as part of the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act”.

New Saudi biometric visa policies meet some resistance

PAKISTAN: Travel agents protest implementation of biometric system for Saudi visa applicants (Express Tribune)

“We have written to Etimad three times to come and discuss with us the system but they are not contacting us,” said Khalil, adding that if the system continues in the same manner, then the number of pilgrims from Pakistan would be reduced by half.

Pakistan already uses biometrics pretty extensively in elections and travel documents, so this seems to be more about implementation than biometric acceptance.

Biometric visitor exit monitoring back in the news

SIA forms ‘Airport Entry and Exit Working Group’ with SIBA (Security Info Watch)

The Security Industry Association (SIA) and Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA) on Tuesday announced the formation of the Airport Entry and Exit Working Group and release of its Identity and Biometric Entry and Exit Solutions Framework for Airports.

A biometric entry and exit monitoring system has been required under U.S. law for a long time now. Maybe the time is right to give it a real try.

Malaysia and biometric ID for foreigners

Biometric identity cards for foreigners studying in Malaysia? (The Star)

“Several countries, namely Saudi Arab, Yemen and several Middle East countries have indicated interest in adopting such a card for their students students here,” he added.

Based on ministry’s records, there were some 80,000 international students in the country last year. The aim is to attract 200,000 foreign students by 2020.

In a related issue, Ahmad Zahid said that a pilot project is currently underway to implement the biometric identity card for the 2.116mil foreign workers in the country by the end of next year.

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