The US government is poised to adopt a futuristic solution to immigration control, using computerised facial recognition technology. European governments are said to be taking a keen interest in the project and assessing its uses on some borders here.
The Immigration and Naturalisation Services (INS)is one of four federal agencies to begin implementing FaceIT recognition technology from US supplier Visionics. INS will use FaceIT as part of an existing project on the US-Mexico border known as Sentri.
Sentri is intended to smooth the transit of legal immigrants by attaching radio tags to authorised participants in the scheme. They are then allowed to use the fast lane of the freeway to pass into the US and their vehicle is scanned as they cross the border.
But the system currently cannot register data about the passengers, the loophole that FaceIT will resolve by automatically capturing the face of the passengers. If the system does not match these faces with photos of those authorised to be in the car, the vehicle will be diverted to an inspection area where border officials can investigate.
The INS chose the FaceIT product because it was the only one on the market that had been successfully tested against the US Army?s Feret trial facial recognition database.
Other agencies implementing facial recognition techology include the Army Research Laboratory, the National Security Agency and the National Institute of Justice.
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