Facial recognition-based border control system in Netherlands to process millionth passenger by end of year
By End the Lie
Readers of End the Lie are likely well aware of the rapid growth of the use of biometrics. Everything from facial recognition (with increasingly fast recognition systems) to pedo-biometrics to remote biometrics to soft biometrics to voice recognition and centralized government databases are on the rise.
While this can easily be seen in the United States, where the FBI is sharing facial recognition software with police across the country, it is in fact a global phenomenon.
This is evidenced by the E-Gate system, developed by Accenture and Vision-Box, being used by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Netherlands.
It’s interesting to note that Accenture has a relatively close relationship with the U.S. government. They were awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract worth over $25 million (with a ptotential value of over $43 million) by the Navy earlier this year. Accenture is also involved with RFID technology.
E-Gate is an automated border control system relying on facial recognition and is slated to process its one millionth passenger at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, according to an announcement made at the recently held Biometrics Exhibition and Conference 2012 in London.
Accenture worked on the E-Gate system with Vision-Box, a Portugal-based company specializing in automated border control systems, according to Homeland Security News Wire.
The E-Gate system reportedly has significantly reduced the processing times for passengers traveling through the airport “while maintaining border security by more efficiently validating passenger identities and travel documentation,” according to the Herald Online.
The system leverages facial recognition to actually process passenger information before they are allowed to cross the border. If someone is on one of the many watch lists of national security agencies, the officers manning the checkpoint are alerted.
However, it’s not quite as simple as just letting people walk through an automated gate system.
Passengers are required to have a biometric passport in order to use the system. This biometric passport contains a microchip issued by the home country of the passenger within the European Union or the European Economic Region.
Passengers who have the required biometric passport approach the checkpoint and place their passport on a device which automatically verifies their identity.
The identity of the traveler is then confirmed via facial recognition as well as a background check courtesy of the Dutch authorities.
Accenture claims that their system is one of the fastest on the face of the Earth with processing times averaging at a mere eight seconds per passenger. The company claims that 97 percent of passengers wait less than four minutes during peak travel hours thanks to their biometrics-based system.
“With continuing growth in international travel volumes and increasingly complex documentation and visa requirements, there is a greater need than ever to verify passengers’ identities using new technologies that are supported by efficient human processes,” said Mark Crego, head of Accenture’s Border and Identity Management division, according to the Herald Online.
“Accenture is working with border management agencies around the world to deliver solutions that facilitate the efficient movement of people and goods while, at the same time, increase border security and protect travelers,” Credo added.
With voice recognition avatars already being deployed at border crossings in the United States, one must wonder how long it will be until we see such systems here as well. That being said, biometrics systems are already being tested and deployed in the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), so it wouldn’t be much of a leap to see a system like E-Gate here as well.
Do you think we’ll see similar systems deployed overtly in the United States in the near future? Should we be concerned about these developments or are they completely innocuous? Let us know in the comments section.
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