Biometric passport authentication technology by Vision-Box deployed at JFK airport

March 21, 2016 - 

Beginning in January 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport deployed a system for biometric authentication of electronic passports allowing for biometric matching of a traveler’s face with the facial image stored on the identification document’s e-chip.

Vision-Box revealed today that it is providing the core biometric technology, the vb e-pass desktop, as part of a facial recognition solution provided to CBP by Unisys Corporation for this initial deployment . This deployment follows the successful testing of the same system at Washington’s Dulles International Airport.

The deployed solution supports a simple process: After authenticating and reading the chip of the traveler’s electronic passport, the vb e-pass desktop takes a biometric quality photo of the passenger’s face, matches the captured facial image against the photo stored in the e-passport, and gives a probability match based on multiple facial features. If the image match probability is low, the passenger may be flagged for additional screening.

“By the end of this year every non-expired U.S. passport in circulation will be electronic, while the majority of them already are,” explains Dr. Michael Petrov, Vision-Box North America Managing Director. “The deployed solution completes the lifecycle loop of the e-passport by providing reliable means of checking that the passport belongs to the holder, thus helping address a significant security threat of document swapping with unfortunate precedents documented in other parts of the world.”

According to a statement by the company, the accuracy of the system is ensured by strict compliance with ISO standards for image capture and the use of one of the industry’s best face matching algorithms. The biometric e-passport issuance is guided by ICAO recommendations, which in turn are based on ISO standards of biometric image quality. Full embracement of the ISO biometric standards in Vision-Box vb e-pass desktop solution ensures consistent photographic capture accuracy by using software-controlled multidirectional lighting and automated camera height adjustment based on the face position.

The face matching algorithm integrated into the system provides accurate results even when the photograph in the passport’s chip is of substandard quality. This algorithm proved itself as a winner of several recent NIST vendor evaluations, and it was further tested during the field trial in the Dulles Airport pilot.

In addition to immigration booths, Vision-Box has begun installing its face matching technology at APC (Automated Passport Control) kiosks used by CBP for the inbound immigration processing at a dozen of the largest US international airports, with Orlando International Airport being the first to go live back in October 2015.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.