May 21, 2015 -
Israel rolled out 17 biometric passport kiosks in the Passport Control section of Ben-Gurion airport, in addition to the four stations that were already in place as part of a pilot program, according to a report by Israel National News.
The biometric passport kiosks expedites the long waiting periods at Passport Control by enabling Israelis and tourists to authorize their identity via a facial recognition system.
There are a few stations that are specifically optimized for children, the disabled, and shorter individuals.
Interior Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) said that the roll out of biometric passport stations “puts [Israel] on par with international service providers.”
The 17 stations were installed after the Central Bureau for Population and Immigration Authority completed a legally-mandatory satisfaction survey, which found that most Israeli passengers were highly satisfied with biometric passports while 86% approved of the shorter wait time and of the new process overall.
“This is another step in our project to promote improved service to the public,” Immigration Authority CEO Amnon Ben-Ami said. “The stations prove themselves every day, both with the Israeli public and with tourists.”
The biometric passport stations are just the latest move in implementing the national Biometric Database Law, which mandates the collection of fingerprints and facial data from all Israeli residents to be integrated into domestic ID cards and national passports.
The same law requires the creation of a biometric government database of biometric information, which will be used for management of access control, identification of individuals and to help law enforcement find individuals suspected of criminal activity.
The new biometric ID cards and passports are designed to prevent identity theft and the loss, theft and destruction of the flimsy blue ID cards issued by the Interior Ministry.