UK Airports to Scan Faces

Technology will match passengers' mugs to biometric passports
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2008 12:18 PM CDT
Heavily armed police guard Heathrow airport. Starting this summer, UK airports will introduce facial recognition technology.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – New facial recognition technology in which computers scan faces and match them to information encoded in biometric passports will be used at UK airports for the first time this summer, the Guardian reports. Authorities say the machines will outperform humans and improve security, but critics fear the technology will cause flight disruptions by generating too many false negatives.

"It's a laughable technology," said one skeptic at the London School of Economics. US police had to turn the scanners off when they were used at the Super Bowl "because it was throwing up so many false positives," he said. "The computer couldn't even recognize gender." The summer test will be expanded to all UK airports if it works.