Australia’s border security agency to install facial recognition terminals in airports

April 23, 2015 - 

Australia’s Customs and Border Protection will roll out 92 Vision-Box facial recognition terminals in international airports throughout the country, according to a report by IT News.

The $18 million contract will swap out technology of the border security agency’s current smart-gate vendor, Morpho, which delivered about 61 electronic gates at arrival terminals at Australian airports as part of a $53 million deal that is scheduled to run through 2019.

The value of Vision-Box’s deal could likely reach nearly $25 million if additional work orders and contract extensions occur.

Customs had been testing Vision-Box’s terminals — which captures travellers’ facial recognition images and compares them to their passports — against Morpho devices under the final stages of a $8.4 million, two-year trial.

The agency will install the 92 Vision-Box biometric terminals in departure terminals within Australia’s eight international airports.

As a result, users will be able to scan their passport and proceed to the exit without receiving assistance from an immigration official for processing.

Vision-Box’s machines will serve as an upgrade from the ‘first generation’ Morpho machines that the agency initially began installing back in 2007, said an Immigration spokesman.

The Vision-Box gates are currently being used at several international airports, including the Hamad International Airport in Qatar.

The new machines are a response to the “very imminent threat we face from terrorism”, said Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who added that automating the passport check would “allow customs and border protection staff to concentrate on those threats at our borders”.

Dutton did reveal that the new system had some initial “glitches”, but they have since been resolved, allowing implementation to continue.

Under the Custom’s smartgate privacy policy, the biometric data captured by the machines can be shared with a range of Australian security agencies, including the AFP, state and territory police, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Environment, AUSTRAC, and overseas customs and immigration authorities.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.