Malaysia to implement facial recognition systems at airports, ports

The Malaysian government is installing 300 facial recognition devices to scan travelers entering and exiting the country at key entry points by the end of 2017, according to a report by Malay Mail Online.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that 99 biometric devices were previously installed at KL International Airport (KLIA) and klia2.

Hamidi, who is also the home minister, said the new security system would soon be rolled out at other airports and ports.

“International airports are first on our list … but we will surely move to other entry points including ports,” Hamidi told Malay Mail. “Right now, we are looking at 300 devices at key entry points which will be installed by end of next year. We have budget constraints for now, but the ultimate goal is to see all entry points having the new face scanning system.”

The move would also see the devices being installed at immigration counters at entry and exit points between neighboring countries, which includes Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia.

The facial recognition device would serve as an added security feature in addition to the thumbprint scanning devices that are already installed at the electronic gates.

Travelers would scan their thumbprint as the facial recognition system scans their face, which would then be cross-checked with data embedded in the traveler’s passport.

The system is also connected to Interpol’s database of stolen and lost travel documents.

“The device is also able to detect if a passport is fake or has been tampered with,” said an insider familiar with the workings of the facial scanner. “As it is also a form of the biometrics system, the facial device can read all international passports.”

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