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Australian airports plan to replace passports with face recognition technology

24th Jan 2017
Written by: Dave Owen


Passports could soon be a thing of the past, as Australia plans to trial contactless biometric recognition in their place.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will pilot the system at arrivals in Canberra Airport in July.

Under the scheme there’ll be no need to show your passport at a manned immigration desk. Instead, arrivals will be identified by a biometric system that scans their face, fingerprints, or eyes. In theory, the contactless technology means travellers could walk straight through arrivals without any need to stop.


How this biometric information will be collected is currently unclear, with the DIBP itself seemingly uncertain how the system will actually work. John Coyne, head of border security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, suggested boarding passengers may have to file through a corridor to have their biometrics captured without needing to stop.

If the trial goes well, DIBP will aim to introduce the system at Sydney and Melbourne airports in November, before rolling out the system nationwide by 2020.

The scheme is part of the Australian government’s Seamless Traveller initiative, launched in 2015, which is expected to cost AUD 93.7 million to speed up and better automate border control and security.

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