Australia Wants to Replace Passports With Facial Recognition Technology by 2020

Jan 29, 2017

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No passport? No problem! At least that’s the hope for the future of Australia’s airports, which, as part of a massive high-tech overhaul, are hoping to automate 90 percent of air travel processing procedures using biometric technology by 2020, replacing paper passports with facial, iris and/or fingerprint recognition devices.

It’s a tall order to be sure but, as The Guardian reports, the country’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has already taken steps toward building a “contactless” system that could revolutionize — and expedite — the airport experience.

The announcement comes as part of the Seamless Traveller initiative, a $100 million project that was announced back in 2015 with the goal of “transform[ing] the border experience” over a five-year period. The implementation of biometric technology — the most ambitious part of the plan — would allow travelers flying into any of Australia’s airports to be cleared for entry into the country at a high-tech kiosk that would identify them via facial, iris or fingerprint recognition technology — no paperwork, or human agents, required.

The one big hurdle? The Australian government isn’t yet sure exactly how to accomplish this, so they’re still looking for ideas. Still, even without a firm solution in mind, the department seems confident it’ll be ready to begin testing the technology later this summer, planning to introduce the technology on a small scale at Canberra Airport (CBR), which services limited flights to and from Singapore and Wellington, in July. By November, the new tech could even find its way to a major airport — possibly Sydney (SYD) or Melbourne (MEL) — and by March of 2019, the rollout would be complete.

Hey, if it means getting through security and to the beach faster, we’re all for it.

H/T: The Guardian

Featured image courtesy of Ian Waldie via Getty Images.

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