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Heathrow International sells off biometric eGate system to UK Border Agency


Accenture designed an eGate system in 2009 to be deployed at Heathrow International airport and now the airport has written off US$8.06 million (£5 million) after selling the system and transferring ownership to the UK Border Agency.

Reported today in ComputerWorld, the airport officially made the sale to the border agency in April 2013 after long-lines marred the image of the eGate system at the airport. This particular system used facial recognition technology to compare a passenger’s face with photographs embedded in biometric passports.

Heathrow isn’t new to biometric systems. According to the ComputerWorld report, another previous system, based on iris biometrics has recently been cancelled at the airport due to its age and subsequent cost.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, in partnership with South African Airways, the airport initiated a self-boarding trial for passengers using a similar facial recognition system. It’s unclear if this system leveraged the same eGates that have just been sold to the UK Border Agency, though it’s likely considering the description of the system.

According to a recent Steria survey, more than half of Europeans support biometric systems for ID documents or ePassports. 

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