Contactless passenger identification a reality by 2020?

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has confirmed that it is planning to adopt a new contactless passenger identification system that would eliminate the need for passport scanners, paper landing cards and manned immigration desks.

The new system, which is set to be rolled out by 2020, will use facial recognition technology and fingerprint scanners to identify passengers as they pass through Australian airports. People arriving in the country would no longer be required to show their passports and desks fronted by immigration officers would be replaced by automated electronic stations.

The department further explained that the new process would go beyond the SmartGate electronic border processing system currently in place at Australian airports, which matches the face of a passenger with the image stored in the microchip of their e-passport.

The Australian government will pilot a version of the system in July at Canberra Airport, which offers limited flights to Singapore and Wellington. It would be introduced at Sydney and Melbourne airports in November, with the rollout hoping to complete by March 2019.

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