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Heathrow To Install Facial Recognition Scanners

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-get-punched-in-the-nose dept.

Security 114

itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will recall that back in February, Heathrow airport required full body scanning for select individuals. Now we learn that the airport is installing facial recognitions scanners. The scanners will be used to capture passengers' faces before entering security checks and again before boarding. The stated goal is to prevent illigal immigration."

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immigrants (4, Insightful)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861470)

Illegal immigrants? Boarding a plane in UK to immigrate to...?

Re:immigrants (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861484)

Yeah we have to limit all these britons trying to get out of their island to settle in a civilized part of the world. :)

Re:immigrants (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861802)

Please do (Aussie here).

Re:immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861974)

He said civilized. (Brit here)

Re:immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36862086)

An immigrant yourself then

Re:immigrants (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862634)

Not a problem. We'll shoot them as soon as they get out of the plane, and then incinerate the bodies so that the infection does not spread.

Re:immigrants (1)

InterStellaArtois (808931) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861486)

FTFA:

The facial recognition scanners will ensure that ticketed passengers board their correct flight. It will prevent, for example, a passenger who arrives from Miami from trying to use a domestic ticket obtained from someone else in the departure lounge and then flying to Glasgow. Since domestic flights do not have immigration counters, it would be possible with the departure lounge arrangement in those terminals for a passenger from Miami to avoid immigration.

Re:immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861492)

Er. I'm confused. We've had photos taken of domestic passengers at security and checked at the gate for about 5 years now? OK, it's not "facial recognition" so much as "take a photo for the gate agent to check against", but I fail to see the news here...

Re:immigrants (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861556)

Actually, we've had facial recognition cameras in Heathrow for about five years - I was tangentially involved with the group setting them up. Possibly this is an upgrade - the previous ones could be defeated if you smiled. Fortunately, Heathrow is designed in such a way that smiling is unlikely for anyone unfortunate enough to be there.

Re:immigrants (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861804)

Fortunately, Heathrow is designed in such a way that smiling is unlikely for anyone unfortunate enough to be there.

Nothing fortunate about that. Just clever design.

Re:immigrants (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861832)

Actually, we've had facial recognition cameras in Heathrow for about five years - I was tangentially involved with the group setting them up. Possibly this is an upgrade - the previous ones could be defeated if you smiled. Fortunately, Heathrow is designed in such a way that smiling is unlikely for anyone unfortunate enough to be there.

I guess smiling at the airport gets you automatically declared suspicious, then?

Re:immigrants (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861964)

That's going to suck for people like me, who are incapable of passing a security camera without making silly faces at it (just to point out the silliness of actually having a camera in the first place)

Re:immigrants (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862884)

I was tangentially involved with the group setting them up.

Colour me surprised. Any other government corporate welfare programs you benefit from?

Re:immigrants (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863138)

You seem to be trying to make a point, but I've no idea what it is...

Re:immigrants (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863480)

the previous ones could be defeated if you smiled.

So they wouldn't work on the two or three sunny days of the year then? That's not so bad.

Because its wrong (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861838)

For the state to snoop on you like this.

Re:immigrants (0)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862546)

Er. I'm confused. We've had photos taken of domestic passengers at security and checked at the gate for about 5 years now? OK, it's not "facial recognition" so much as "take a photo for the gate agent to check against", but I fail to see the news here...

This is Slashdot. 95% of the readership's experience with air travel involves interacting with the American TSA once a year while they're flying from their mom's basement in Boston to Comic-Con. The fact that this has existed at Heathrow, Gatwick and their ilk for years won't have occurred to them as a possibility.

Re:immigrants (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863192)

This is Slashdot. 95% of the readership's experience with air travel involves interacting with the American TSA once a year while they're flying from their mom's basement in Boston to Comic-Con.

You've got to hand it to those Airline Pilots, they do have a lot of skill, I can't imagine the precision needed to land a 747 in a back garden, then taxi in through the patio doors, through the kitchen and down the stairs to the basement.

Re:immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861528)

Can you get from the international terminals into domestic ones at Heathrow?

Re:immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861746)

No you can't. You have to clear passport control first.

Obviously, this has nothing to do with immigration and more to do with those photo tags you enabled on picasa...

Re:immigrants (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861774)

No you can't. You have to clear passport control first.

Obviously, this has nothing to do with immigration and more to do with those photo tags you enabled on picasa...

Person A (No right of entry to the UK) gets a flight from Kenya -> Heathrow -> Canada
Person B (UK citizen) gets a flight Heathrow -> Manchester

A lands at T5, goes through flight connections, has paperwork for onwards flight checked, but DOES NOT PASS THROUGH PASSPORT CONTROL. Enters departure lounge.
B arrives at T5, checks in for the flight to Manchester, enters departure lounge.
B gives A boarding pass, A heads up to Manchester.

After A lands and is through to the UK, B returns landside.

Re:immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861816)

Sydney Airport fixed this problem by putting the departure lounge after passport control. No cameras necessary. Perhaps this isn't about immigrants.

Re:immigrants (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861852)

Moreover, this can be easily solved by having national and international destinations start from different terminals. So if you arrive at T5 from an international flight, you can get to other international flights from T5, but have to go e.g. to T3 in order to get a follow-up flight to Manchester. And of course to get from T5 to T3, you have to go through passport control.

Re:immigrants (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862090)

After A lands and is through to the UK, B returns landside.

This is the tricky bit. I've been at the gate in Stansted when the airline announced that there was no co-pilot, and we had to return to landside. They opened some doors which are normally kept locked, and sent us through passport control. The best bet for person B would probably be to claim to have missed their flight, but I would be surprised if they pulled it off - especially if they've had to mill around in the departure lounge for the best part of an hour to give person A time.

Re:immigrants (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863222)

After A lands and is through to the UK, B returns landside.

This is the tricky bit. I've been at the gate in Stansted when the airline announced that there was no co-pilot, and we had to return to landside. They opened some doors which are normally kept locked, and sent us through passport control. The best bet for person B would probably be to claim to have missed their flight, but I would be surprised if they pulled it off - especially if they've had to mill around in the departure lounge for the best part of an hour to give person A time.

Depends if you've got an airside pass, which many low-paid temp workers get without much of a blink. Or you claim you fell asleep in the lounge and your bag had been nicked.

That's assuming you cant do the -4 shuffle back from T5B (dunno about other terminals)

Of course, they've fixed this for years, by taking a picture of the person at ground-side pre-security. I have no idea why they need more technology (aside from kickbacks)

RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861494)

RTFA: people flying in and then transferring directly in the transfers area to an internal flight to another part of the UK where there are less security checks on people coming in to the country. We have a number of smaller, regional airports.

Lots of paranoia in the UK about 'illegal immigrants'. Quite ironic seeing as the people who make the most noise about this are likely to be descended from illegal immigrants themselves ;-) Our whole country is basically immigrants if you look far enough back...

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861562)

Our whole country is basically immigrants if you look far enough back...

Every country. Except perhaps South Africa.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861598)

Our whole country is basically immigrants if you look far enough back...

Every country. Except perhaps South Africa.

True, but it doesn't mean I would like a native american sneaking in my house and telling me he lives with me now because the land my house is on use to belong to his tribe.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862906)

You might not like it, but would you calmly explain to him that the only reason you get to stay there is that your race has more powerful representation in government than his race?

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861688)

I can't work out if you're joking or not, but do you seriously believe that there isn't a HUGE proportion of immigrants in South Africa?

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862022)

do you seriously believe that there isn't a HUGE proportion of immigrants in South Africa?

If you go back far enough, they're all "native Africans". Even the whites. There might be a few whose families never left.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861716)

South Africa doesn't get a free pass, since the cradle of mankind is to be found in central Africa, along Rift Valley, if I recall correctly, so you might give the Kenians a pass here.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861882)

Of course, the apes living there before these Homo Sapiens evolved say that the Kenyans are the illegal immigrants.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861574)

people flying in and then transferring directly in the transfers area to an internal flight to another part of the UK

Every other airport I've seen keeps international travelers separate from domestic flights (you have to go through customs to reach the domestic terminal).
Does Heathrow not have this arrangement?

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861644)

people flying in and then transferring directly in the transfers area to an internal flight to another part of the UK

Every other airport I've seen keeps international travelers separate from domestic flights (you have to go through customs to reach the domestic terminal).
Does Heathrow not have this arrangement?

No it doesn't. The UK (like the U.S. and Canada) doesn't have exit controls either, sure the airlines check you have a passport, but the government only checks on the way in.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861810)

Then it sounds like they'd be far better served putting security between the domestic and international terminals.

Unless they're going to lock down the airport every time one of these face-scanners gets a hit.
Which, given an airport the size of Heathrow, they'd be lucky to ever get a flight off the ground at that rate.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861990)

people flying in and then transferring directly in the transfers area to an internal flight to another part of the UK

Every other airport I've seen keeps international travelers separate from domestic flights (you have to go through customs to reach the domestic terminal).
Does Heathrow not have this arrangement?

No it doesn't. The UK (like the U.S. and Canada) doesn't have exit controls either, sure the airlines check you have a passport, but the government only checks on the way in.

That actually depends on where you're going, at least in the case of US/Canada. Both countries have reciprocal agreements with some countries, and the ability to pre-clear customs on the way out rather than on the way in. I know last time I flew to the states from Ottawa, I went through US customs/immigration before I even got on the plane, and did not have to go through a customs checkpoint upon landing. The same for the return trip, though the customs checkpoint was not at my point of departure, but at a changeover in Detroit. The same was not true when I went to France by air in 2004, but in that case, customs was more a case of "you landed on an Air France flight from Montreal, you have a Canadian passport, and you speak French, have a nice stay, and would you like a stamp on your passport from CDG to prove you were here?"

I know from experience, though, that Canada/US do pre-clear customs for each other on the way out, however it may depend on which airport you're flying from.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862106)

No it doesn't. The UK (like the U.S. and Canada) doesn't have exit controls either, sure the airlines check you have a passport, but the government only checks on the way in.

That's not true in general for international flights into the UK. I've flown into five different UK airports from Spain and every time I've had to show my passport to Border Agency officials.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863244)

No it doesn't. The UK (like the U.S. and Canada) doesn't have exit controls either, sure the airlines check you have a passport, but the government only checks on the way in.

That's not true in general for international flights into the UK. I've flown into five different UK airports from Spain and every time I've had to show my passport to Border Agency officials.

Those are entry controls, and obviously the UK has them (although I rarely need to my passport out). There are no official passport checks on the way out though. The U.S. is the same. My (british) passports are full of entry stamps to various countries, and exit stamps a few days later. Canada and the U.S are the only exceptions.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863412)

Ah, sorry: I misunderstood you to be talking about exiting airside to landside rather than exiting the country.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36864984)

Ah, sorry: I misunderstood you to be talking about exiting airside to landside rather than exiting the country.

The only passport check on a person leaving the UK from Heathrow is the one at the gate, by airline staff.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861632)

Lots of paranoia in the UK about 'illegal immigrants'. Quite ironic seeing as the people who make the most noise about this are likely to be descended from illegal immigrants themselves ;-) Our whole country is basically immigrants if you look far enough back...

Well, they'll be illegal only until they take over, and rewrite history and laws so that they're not illegal any more. I mean, that has basically happened many times in every country. But there are also cases where a particular wave of immigrants failed to take over, and existing population remained in power, and immigrants either melded in or disappeared in less nice ways.

At this time in history, the process of melding in has been happening in places like "chinatowns" and "little indias" of major metropolises, as long as they are small enough and open enough, and there isn't too much influx of new immigrants slowing down the melding. The process of immigrants being driven out has been going on in a few African countries at least, since the end of European colonialism.

Now the question for current main population of any country getting immigrants is: how do they want it to go for them and their children.

Re:RTFA: elsewhere in UK where less checks (1)

lordDallan (685707) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863308)

Is there really? Or does it just get a lot of play on the news? Where are the hard, independently-verified survey numbers on UK attitudes or US attitudes on illegal immigrants?

Sometimes I feel a bit like we're all being led by our collective nose by our media culture.

Re:immigrants (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861668)

I hope they stop those English immigrants coming here to Scotland.

Re:immigrants (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863424)

You take your Glaswegians back first!

Re:immigrants (1)

igb (28052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861672)

The problem in some airports in inbound/outbound segregation.

Here's the attack. I check in, with three friends at London for a flight to Edinburgh. My three friends leave the airport and go home, while I go airside with four boarding passes. There I meet three confederates, inbound from random country X. We then board the flight to Edinburgh where we arrive as internal passengers, and do not need to pass through any controls.

So what happens at, say, BHX (which has weak segregation owing to its design) is that internal passengers are photographed as they go air-side, the photograph linked to the boarding pass. When you arrive at the gate, they confirm you're the same person.

LHR T5 was built to work like this, and the cameras have been there since it opened: they want the commercial opportunity of having inbound passengers using the restaurants and shops. BHX does the photo-matching with real people, but presumably LHR's volumes mean it needs to be automated.

Re:immigrants (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862114)

My three friends leave the airport and go home, while I go airside with four boarding passes. There I meet three confederates, inbound from random country X. We then board the flight to Edinburgh

This is where the scheme should, in theory, break down. When your friends go home and you go through the security control, your boarding card will be the only one they scan. The other three should raise an alert when used at the gate without having been used at the security control.

Re:immigrants (1)

igb (28052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862996)

If that interlock is in place, then my friend go airside with me, then exit back out with some arriving passengers (remember, it's an airport with poor in/out segregation). My friends have valid ID, remember, sufficient to check-in for an internal flight, so should have enough to exit airside.

Re:immigrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36863140)

They also can leave thru other means. Such as by boat/car.

Re:immigrants (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863168)

Again, there should be a sanity check made against their ID when they exit airside. If their passport number isn't linked to an incoming flight (and if they can avoid passport checks on the way out this whole scheme is overblown) that should raise an alert at passport control.

Re:immigrants (1)

igb (28052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863226)

There's no cross-check on passports as you describe. It would require each airport to only receive flights from countries that send API, which isn't the case in Europe.

Re:immigrants (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862862)

The idea is to stop people who have been deported coming back in with different identity documents. A common tactic is to bring no or fake documentation so it is hard to prove the person is from a safe country and deny them asylum. Some also try to claim they are children when they are in fact adults.

Japan has had this from incoming travellers for a few years now. A photo of your face and fingerprints are taken by a machine at the time of entry. I think they are more interested in keeping undesirables out though, rather than asylum seekers.

Hmm ... (3, Interesting)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861476)

The same faulty stuff that has lead to cases of mistaken identity in the US, costing innocent people their drivers license?

Re:Hmm ... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862810)

It depends on how it's being used. If they're comparing a person's face outside security with their face upon boarding to ensure that someone isn't somehow allowing another person to board in their place, then the system will have very few problems and can be verified manually if a person is flagged at the gate.

On the other hand, if it's being used to detect whether a person matches a huge list of hundreds of thousands or more people, then there will be false positives on a regular basis and more unnecessary grief for travelers, most likely affecting the same people over and over (unless they get plastic surgery).

Re:Hmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36863082)

So, as long as this system isn't used for something outside its original intended scope, things should be fine. And, the relatively small number of problems should be solved be reasoned, level-headed manual intervention in a timely manner by people who know what they're doing and aren't lazy. Finally, things should remain this good as long as nobody sees a way to apply it to something grander in scope that sounds even better to voters because it will cast a wider net for criminals - which they shouldn't bother doing as complementary defense-in-depth components work together with this system to do the best job, not turning the knob to 11 because "more is better".

I'm sure we all look forward to the government airport security group in this installation doing a great job on this one.

Re:Hmm ... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863190)

Yep, that about sums it up.

Snake Oil, Magic Bullets and No Budgets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36864134)

I call bullshit. This stuff can't possibly work reliably.

Who approved the spend? Who got the contract. Yep. That's what I thought.

Besides, the Terrorism and Surveillance bubble is so over!
Call broker. Sell shares. Now! Sell them now! Now! Now!

Cutbacks are the new normal.
Gordon Brown will soon be looking under the cushions for gas money.
He'll be lucky to make payroll and pay the electric bill.

No place for giving insiders fat contracts for tech that does not work.

illigal immigration? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861520)

"The stated goal is to prevent illigal immigration"

Hopefully they can also stop bad spellers from entering the country.

Re: illigal immigration? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861548)

Hopefully they can also stop bad spellers from entering the country.

Is Timothy an illigal? Or just an illiterate?

Re: illigal immigration? (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861558)

Bad spellers, eh?

Re: illigal immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36864950)

Eh?

Re: illigal immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861662)

Yeah, we all know that the first letter (lettre?) after an i *has* to be capital :-P

Re: illigal immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861982)

Hopefully they can also stop bad spellers from entering the country.

I'm not sure the British tourism industry would appreciate keeping US visitors away.

Re: illigal immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36863918)

What the hell is "illegal immigration?"

It's not immigration if you're not doing it illegally; it is illegal aliens invading borders. A criminal act, and could be considered an act of war because international borders are involved.

Illigal post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861526)

Try to be an editor next time timothy!

Maybe this is the problem (1)

fluch (126140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861550)

"The departure lounge allows international and domestic passengers to be together so that the domestic passengers have access to the lounge facilities, according to BAA." ... which looks like a security design fail to me.

Still, what if I have a valid, selfbought ticket from Miami to Heathrow T5 with a connecting flight to some small local airport in the UK afterwards?

Re:Maybe this is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861714)

Wait, are you complaining that actual security would be inconvenient? Are you hypothesizing that people would knowingly choose invasive security theater over inconvenient actual security?

Re:Maybe this is the problem (2)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36865450)

So they can expose all customers to the same retail obstacle course? The owners of LHR have repeatedly shown that they only care about shopping. They don't care about passenger comforty, snow clearance equipment, etc. It's hard to find a good bookshop squeezed in amongst all the high end shops found 40 mins away on the Picadilly Line on Oxford and Regent Streetd

Illegal Emigration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861566)

Sounds like what Honecker did in East Germany. Trying to prevent people from escaping the People's Democratic Republic of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland...

more and more gov't, less and less freedom (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861604)

nt

Re:more and more gov't, less and less freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36862010)

You don't say this right. It should read "more and more gov't for the benefit of contractors and corporations, less and less freedom". You don't really think they'd do this without some whiz-bang expensive techno gadget that somebody could sell them, do you? Kind of like the body scanners in the US, which were a product looking for a market. Bit of a problem there, so you just hire a former Homeland Security director to get the government to create a market for you--and if it tramples on rights and endangers health, who cares?

Re:more and more gov't, less and less freedom (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862048)

All government is for the benefit of corporations and contractors, what do you think government is for in the first place?

As long as government has permission from its people to regulate and tax and subsidize businesses, the businesses will be running the governments.

Got a any left-over budget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861616)

If so, perhaps they could spend it on training their security helper monkeys to treat people as they are paying customers - not gonorrhea with legs. They behave like police in some kind of dystopian Deus Ex-like work. To cite one example, on a quiet day when there's barely anyone around, if a customer stops to ask you for information, "keep moving" is not an appropriate response. Lying just to get people out of your section nice and quickly is not good. That time I was looking for a smoke, and the cunts told me to go through security knowing full well that once I went I wouldn't be getting back out for a smoke before my transatlantic flight. If their unpleasantness is due to pressure placed on them by their employer then that needs to fixed. If they're acting like cunts because they are the kinds of people who are attracted to jobs in which they can pretend they're Judge Fucking Unaccountable Dredd then retrain them for checking vehicle tax discs or parking. We do not need these guys welcoming people to the UK. We couldn't possibly create a worse impression without installing a circle of frenziedly masturbating homeless guys at each departure gate, but even then between strokes they may offer more friendly directions when asked.

Devils Advocate (1)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861642)

I believe the reason why they are claiming "illegal immigration" is to combat the issue of passenger switching. Essentially passenger A transits through the UK on their way to another destination - which means they have no legal right to leave the airport terminal. Passenger B buys an inter-EU/UK ticket, passenger A and B switch identities, and then A enters the UK illegally. Passenger B who was legal anyway just comes home using a second passport (normally issued by their native country before getting UK resident status).

That being said, I don't think the facial scanners will do jack shit to combat this. I think you'll have tons of false positive. I think their motivations are other than what they claim.

Re:Devils Advocate (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861702)

I think you'll have tons of false positive

You mean false negatives? According to the description, they take a photo of you, then check that the person leaving with your flight ticket is actually you. A "false positive" would be a different person leaving with your ticket, but wrongly identified as you and accepted. A false negative would be you leaving legitimately but not recognised as matching your own photo. Very easy to have a living person check that you are the right person.

Technology for technologys' sake (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861698)

A passenger's face will be scanned after they've obtained their boarding pass and just before security. Before the person boards their flight, their face will be scanned again once they've left the departure lounge.

This seems like a really expensive & complex way to ensure the person checking in gets on the right flight.

Why can't they just put an identifying anti-tamper wrist band on each passengers as they check in, then check that at the gate. The band could be like the ones put on people instead of tickets at music festivals, or could be like a hospital bracelet. Either way, it could incorporate a barcode and and replace the existing paper boarding passes to make them very difficult to transfer.

Of course the tags will have to be made it look silver, gold or platinum to satisfy the business class passengers.

Re:Technology for technologys' sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36862702)

Uhh, it's called a passport? The only ways to defeat this are:
1) have the same name as someone you look similar to
2) have multiple fake passports

And next.. (1)

toxickitty (1758282) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861736)

Next new airport security scanner, is going to feature automatic cavity searches don't forget to bend over. The sad part is that sentence doesn't even feel like a joke to me anymore when I see how many privacy violations and inhumane things goverments are putting their people through. It's just discusting I just finished reading this: http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/32-signs-that-the-entire-world-is-being-transformed-into-a-futuristic-big-brother-prison-grid [endoftheam...ndream.com] . Is there any hope left for this stupid planet?

Solar Cult Bloodline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861758)

We need Blood Tests, To track down the solar cult bloodline.

Unneeded tech? Photo taken of domestic passengers (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861828)

If I remember this right (I've never actually taken a domestic flight, it's only something I've read) then they take a picture of domestic passengers at the security desk, the photo is brought up at the departure gate to verify the correct person is boarding the flight.

I remember there was some controversy when they were talking about using fingerprint scanners to do this, and how it was unnecessary because the "the photo system worked fine".

Re:Unneeded tech? Photo taken of domestic passenge (1)

cervo (626632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862280)

Actually that is an example of something that is actually helpful. It's not too ridiculously expensive or unsafe (like bodyscanners using x-rays) and does not really invade your privacy too much (by showing naked pictures or something). I would welcome this system in American airports because it is possible for someone to open a door in a secure area and let someone else in. Really this is just an example of common sense.

Misread that as... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861830)

Racial recognition scanners.

Which wouldn't be all that different to what airports do now, come to think of it.

Gatwick Airport already has em (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861922)

Gatwick Airport already has em in both north and south terminals. They've been installed over the past few months (called Autogates) and still have a lot of bugs in the system. They dont always do what they should. People have successfully talegated others, failed to be recognised and recognised as somebody different (ie family member). Although when they work they are quite cool. Will be interesting to see how they pan out.

Re:Gatwick Airport already has em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36862030)

Although when they work they are quite cool.

Yea they are a great way to track inventory. Pretty cool.

Re:Gatwick Airport already has em (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863964)

Gatwick Airport already has em in both north and south terminals. They've been installed over the past few months (called Autogates) and still have a lot of bugs in the system. They dont always do what they should. People have successfully talegated others, failed to be recognised and recognised as somebody different (ie family member). Although when they work they are quite cool. Will be interesting to see how they pan out.

Are you thinking of the e-passport gates? Heathrow has had them for a while.

I've attempted to use them 3 times, twice at Heathrow (T5), once in Lisbon. Worked fine in Lisbon (saving a long queue), but both times it's failed to recognise me at Heathrow.

OTOH, the iris scanners at Heathrow work flawlessly for me, every time - I must have used it a dozen times in the last year.

New news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36861928)

I dunno if this is 'new' news - I travelled through Heathrow in March, and they did the face recognition thing to me then. Appeared to be Logitech 360 degree webcams installed about the place in perspex domes - but primarily at the passport check desk. You had to stand on an 'X' and wait for your pic to be taken & then passport checked. I was not asked to do this again when returning through - though I deliberately stood on the X waiting for the pic to be taken without being asked - the passport officer said no its ok we've already got your pic. Happened already, perhaps?

Re:New news? (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36861954)

That is just the passport check (like a photographic logbook). And your right they are Logitech cameras as I have had to fix em once or twice before.

Note to Self (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862126)

Never fly through LHR and LGW again without prosthetic forehead in place.

I jest, but more seriously, this news makes me glad that my travel patterns have changed such that I'm no longer flying through London.

Re:Note to Self (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36862306)

Never fly through LHR and LGW again without prosthetic forehead in place.

Yeah, everybody wants one of those.

Re:Note to Self (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862514)

Never fly through LHR and LGW again without prosthetic forehead in place.

Yeah, everybody wants one of those.

If you had one, you could wear it on your real head...

Face paint (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862196)

I recall the paper that states that painting transformed haar-like features [wikipedia.org] on the face completely dumbfound common face detectors/recognizer(i.e.based on Viola-Jones [wikipedia.org] ) Of cause more robust algo could be developed, but I doubt in industry ability and willingness to research and deploy them in foreseeable future(and spend money on them). More easy is to ban face paint.

Re:Face paint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36864476)

Or wear thick glasses... it's less suspicious. Wear shirts with "nice" features to trick the algorithms. There's a lot that can be done to generate a lot of false positives/negatives, and once your "attacker" gets the grip on what / how it is being done they too can have "fun" protests.

Facial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36862254)

At first I read it as "Racial". Fits right in with the hate speech article.

Unless they're trying to track the flying habits of the women from cumonherface.com.

Wait.. did I type "flying habits"? Maybe they're looking for Sister Bertrille..

Who, strangely, was modeled on the real life Singing Nun, Jeanine Deckers.

Where am I going with this?

Have to show passport anyway...? (1)

carvell (764574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36862482)

You have to show your passport anyway, so obviously from that point on they know exactly who you are anyway. No-one seems to be up in arms about that, so what's the problem with facial recognition scanners?

Re:Have to show passport anyway...? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863468)

o what's the problem with facial recognition scanners

The high probability that it is a misprint for farsical recognition scanners.

Facial recognition is not always bad (1)

Jazari (2006634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36863030)

Facial recognition is bad when used on CCTV in public places, because it permits the tracking of lawful activity (eg: finding out that person X went to Y political party's meeting).
But in an airport, you're showing ID to travel anyway. Even in the case of a false positive, you should be able to show your ID and clear things up quickly (false positives will be common, so even poorly trained personnel will be used to them).

Now, if you want to argue in favor of the right to anonymous air travel, that's a different story. I think that if security is really what we're after, there could be a system in place to permit anonymous air travel (at least when you're not crossing an international border).

fractal recognition (1)

zurmikopa (460568) | more than 3 years ago | (#36864306)

At first I thought it said installing *fractal* recognition scanners and was wondering if they were worried about people who had parts of them that looked like themselves.

Ready for prime time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36864348)

Zurich Kloten was trialing something similar at passport control a few months ago (comparing face with picture held on chipped passports). Didn't work for me, and got the impression than staff helping people with the new procedure weren't impressed with it. No sign of it last time I went through a couple of weeks ago.

Prior history of these tactics (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36865556)

First off, let's just assume right off the bat that their stated goals are not their true goals. It's already obvious they don't even try hard enough to fabricate a real story.

Now let me tell you a story about their iris recognition systems.
10 years ago give or take, they started advertising their iris recognition system as a way of getting passengers through customs faster. I was interested in this since I travel in and out of the UK often and while it seemed like a good way to bypass long lines and interrogation, I was very concerned about the privacy implications of giving big brother biometric information that they could use to track me, eventually with something like the minority report surveillance cameras.

I kept seeing ads on tv and around the airport saying that this information would remain confidential, anonymized and would never be used for anything outside of the quick customs entry programmes. So I went to the office, read the brochures, asked questions and agreed to try it out after they assuaged my fears.

After using the system for a while, they stopped being available for use. In fact they were down so often in heathrow and gatwick that the 2 year grace period expired and I can no longer use the biometric entry lines.

Right after this happened, I noticed in the news that the uk government had gone back on it's promise to keep the data private and publicly declared that they were going to share everyone's iris maps and personal information freely around any and every government branch and do with my information whatever they pleased. Breaking all their promises and breaking all the contracts.

The moral of the story is regardless of what assurances are given or even how clearly they spell them out in their contracts, government will always abuse their powers to spy on you. Don't give them biometric information, don't let them film you and track you, don't believe their assurances they're all lies. It's not a slippery slope argument when you can find countless examples of things repeating over and over in the same pattern. By now you should already realize you're always arriving post haste at the bottom of this particular slippery slide.

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