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JFK International deploys biometric passport authentication technology

New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport has begun using facial recognition technology to match travelers’ faces to their passport photos at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The technology allows for a highly accurate biometric matching of a traveler’s face with the facial image stored on the identification document’s e-chip, thus preventing document swapping.

Vision-Box, a company in the area of biometric traveler facilitation, is providing the core biometric technology, the vb e-pass desktop, as part of a facial recognition solution provided to CBP by global IT firm Unisys Corporation for this initial deployment at three JFK arrival terminals.

This deployment follows the successful testing of the same system at Washington’s Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

The deployed solution supports a simple process: after authenticating and reading the chip of the traveler’s electronic passport, the vb e-pass desktop takes a biometric quality photo of the passenger’s face, matches the captured facial image against the photo stored in the e-passport, and gives a probability match based on multiple facial features. If the image match probability is low, the passenger may be flagged for additional screening.

Dr Michael Petrov, Vision-Box North America managing director, commented, “By the end of this year every non-expired US passport in circulation will be electronic, while the majority of them already are.

“The deployed solution completes the lifecycle loop of the e-passport by providing reliable means of checking that the passport belongs to the holder, thus helping address a significant security threat of document swapping with unfortunate precedents documented in other parts of the world. It was reported, for example, that a known Australian jihadist was able to leave Australia for the battlefield in Syria using his brother’s passport. His travel could have been prevented with the use of vb e-pass desktop.”

March 21, 2016


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