Heathrow rolling out facial recognition tech

Facial recognition technology

New electronic border gates are set to be introduced at Heathrow to speed up the process of passing through border control.

The new gates will allow travellers over 18 with biometric passports to come back into the UK using facial recognition technology, comparing the picture with that on their passport as well as checking against any internal watch lists held by the UK Border Agency.

The gates have been tested at Stansted, Birmingham and Bristol airports with official launches at [a href="https://www.itpro.com/605589/face-scanning-border-tech-tested-at-manchester-airport" target="_blank" ]Manchester and Gatwick this week.

Reports have suggested that the date for the Heathrow rollout will be in January but a spokesperson from the Home Office told IT PRO that a date has yet to be set.

The Electronic Borders (e-Borders) scheme, which can also scan other European passports, is said to be costing the government 1.2 billion. This will account for more than 87 per cent of travellers to the UK according to Control of Immigration Statistics from 2006.

During a visit to the newly installed gates at Gatwick, Home Secretary Alan Johnson said: "Facial recognition technology speeds up the passage of legitimate travellers through immigration control, allowing UK Border Agency officers to focus on high risk travellers and goods."

"Our investment in the latest technology, which I have seen here today at Gatwick, means we continue to be at the forefront of border security."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.