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Could Facial Scanning Be the Future of Passports?
You may have already started using biometric face recognition for your phone. It may sound unusual, but the new technology may soon be a viable replacement for passports.
Researchers boast speed for the new technology. Miami International Airport tested the biometric screenings for travelers heading abroad. According to the Miami Herald, the airport screened 10 passengers per minute using the tech.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently working to introduce this technology to other airports. The TSA program is aimed at verifying and matching identities with travel documents.
Here’s how it works.
First, passengers must have their photo taken.
Then, someone at the airport checks their face against an image held in the biometric chip of their e-passport (or against the airline’s passenger manifest).
Finally, passengers go through the airport for a manual identity check.
Other countries have also embraced the change to passports.
Sydney Airport in Australia is planning to begin a biometric screening program in May. If the program succeeds, the airport intends to use the screenings for other airlines, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Using the technology at electronic gates has already created improvements in Sydney. The airport lauded the system for reducing time spent at Customs from 4 minutes to 23 seconds.
“Your face will be your passport and boarding pass. There will be no fumbling for passports,” said Sydney Airport’s chief executive, Geoff Culbert.
You may have even already used this technology to board a plane.
Tested recently by Lufthansa at Los Angeles International Airport, the airline boarded about 350 passengers in 20 minutes.
But, not every traveler is on board with the changing technology.
Opponents to the tech have brought up worries with data privacy and how the date is stored. These people are also concerned about whether enough safeguards are in place to prevent hacking by third parties.
Alternatively, advocates are in favor of the simplified travel experience. For example, security lines in the United States are expected to shorten. Fewer people would also be needed to reach a TSA agent, which would be the only time travelers need to show that passport.
Navigating through a busy airport can already prove difficult. The experience can only get more complicated when worrying about your travel documents.
With the new technology, travelers wouldn’t need to keep track of those items. Passports, driver’s licenses and boarding passes wouldn’t be needed, only requiring your face.
Much like with your cell phone, this facial recognition to spread to other areas. Many researchers predict similar types of face systems will likely spread around the globe in a short period of time.
This may be the technology of the future, but a passport is still needed for foreign travel. Are you in need of the travel document? Passport Health can help! Call us at or check out any of our other passport and visa services.
Written for Passport Health by Jerry Olsen. He has over 15 years of combined experience as a writer and editor in Salt Lake City. Jerry’s writing topics range from health care, travel, life science to medical technology and technical writing.