Facial recognition to soon replace passports at Australian airports: immigration minister

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-27 13:05:12|Editor: Liangyu
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CANBERRA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- Facial recognition systems will soon replace the need to present one's passport at Australia's borders, after the Australian government confirmed it has awarded a contract for a company to deliver the technology to the nation's international airports.

In an official statement released on Thursday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government had awarded a three-year, 22.5 million Australian dollar (18 million U.S. dollar) contract to Vision-Box Australia Pty Ltd to build at least 105 "world-leading automated and 'contactless traveler' clearance" machines for people arriving at Australia's airports.

"Australia is committed to being a world leader in the use of biometrics at our border to facilitate legitimate travel, protect our community and prevent the activities of potential terrorists and criminals," Dutton said.

"The government's investment in advanced state-of-the-art biometric systems continues to enhance existing border automation measures and further improves the efficiency and speed of border processing for legitimate travelers, who represent the vast majority of people crossing Australia's border."

Also on Thursday, Dutton told the Seven Network that he understands the frustrations involved with the immigration process, saying that the government was committed to making it easier and faster as traveler numbers increase.

"There is frustration when the plane lands ... when you hop off the A380, there are long queues," he said.

"The idea of this technology, the facial recognition, is that in some cases when you have a passport, you won't even need to present it - it will pick you up by the face and it will make the immigration process much quicker.

"Bear in mind, there were 40 million people who came across our borders last year, and within three years that will be 50 million."

Dutton said while making the immigration process easier for Australians was the aim, foreigners would also be allowed to use the technology in due time.

"It will extend it out to more countries. It really modernizes the experience," he said.

According to the government, this latest announcement is the latest step in the government's broader, 123.6 million Australian dollar (99 million U.S. dollar) investment into improving the experience for passengers at Australia's borders.