Facial recognition machines are to be installed at airports to replace passport officers under border control plans announced today.
The machines will scan a travellers' face to compare them with the images on their biometric passports and open an automated gate when a match is registered. [It's so easy, microchips would make it a hell of a lot easier though!]
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who unveiled details of the scheme today, claims it will shorten immigration queues and boost border security.
Air passengers who agree to fingerprint and face checks are currently fast-tracked through Heathrow
Critics fear, however, that the technology could generate too many false readings in which passengers with genuine passports are refused automatic entry.
There are also concerns that the replacement of personal inspections by passport officers could reduce the chances of detecting individuals who might otherwise be observed behaving suspiciously. [this has NOTHING to do with protecting us, fast-tracking us, or anything that would be beneficial like that to the masses at all]
A trial scheme will begin at Manchester Airport and will be expanded elsewhere in the country if it proves successful.
The facial scanners will be used to check passengers from the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland and are intended to cut the time each traveller needs to clear passport control.
Ministers insist the technology is fail-safe and that when a passenger is refused automatic entry an immigration officer will be on hand to conduct a follow-up check on their status.
Passport control officers could disappear from airports and replaced with machines
Some critics believe the machines will be prone to error because of the inability of facial recognition systems to make perfect matches consistently.
They fear that this could lead to large queues and subject some passengers - such as the elderly - to an unnecessary ordeal each time they try to return to the country. [no doubt]
Ms Smith expressed confidence in the machines, however, and said they could play an important role in strengthening Britain's borders. [THE MACHINES WILL DESTROY US ALL!!!!!!!! Don't trust this Agent Smith!!! (I jest... but seriously look at the extremely helpful "coincidence" that occurred 1 day after her becoming home secretary)]
'The UK has one of the toughest borders in the world and we are determined to ensure it stays that way,' she said. [We're TOUGH!!! on those "foreign types"!]
'Our hi-tech electronic borders system will allow us to count all foreign nationals in and out of the UK, while checking them against watch lists.
'These checks make up just one part of Britain's triple ring of security, alongside fingerprint visas for three-quarters of the world's population, and the roll out of ID cards for foreign nationals, locking people to one identity.'
Most passengers from outside the EU are now required to obtain a biometric visa, with details of their fingerprints, before travelling to Britain. [biometric passports/visas are microchipped]