Say goodbye to the long hours of hassle at airports, at least in Australia! The airport authorities of Australia say that international travelers will soon be able to travel much like the domestic ones, as they look to eliminate the need for a passport by 2020. Officials say that they are working on a biometric technology that will replace the standard paper ID and will recognize faces, irises, and fingerprints to determine everything for which a passport is needed.
The ultimate goal is to cut down the hassle for international travelers. It will also result in having up to 90% of the passengers passing through unmanned electronic stations without any human intervention before 2020. The traveler will be stopped only in case of a travel restriction or a technical issue.
The Seamless Traveler system is budgeted to cost around $94 million and take over five years to make Australian airports more efficient and welcoming for the travelers. Previously, automatic passport scanning stations were being used for over a decade and had estimated to cater over 40 million passengers. But now, this automated system is going to be replaced by the new one which will be first tested at Canberra airport in July.
John Coyne, head of border security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, spoke with The Sydney Morning Herald,
“Our ability to harness the power of big data is increasing exponentially. The department is asking tenderers to provide innovative solutions to allow arriving travelers to self-process,”
While the use of biometric technology is very exciting, the process isn’t without its quirks. Privacy advocates are critical about the ethical concerns, current iterations and the problem of iterations showing racial bias.
But Immigration Minister of Australia Peter Dutton is hopeful that the system would make the immigration system and travel far less arduous.
“In many cases that will mean people, whilst they’ll still have to carry their passport, may not have to present their passport at all in the long-term,” Mr Dutton said. “But in the immediate term, this will make it easier, it will make it quicker, for people going in and out of our airports.”
Mr. Dutton also said the upgrade would help in boosting security at the nation’s borders while encouraging tourism.
“Already we know from the money we’ve invested into biometrics collections that that is a much more reliable collection than we have with people just scanning manually passports, he said. So there is the ability through this technology to improve detections of people that might be coming into our country to do the wrong thing.”
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