Dulles International Airport trialing face recognition technology

22 March 2015 (Last Updated March 22nd, 2015 18:30)

Washington DC’s Dulles airport is carrying out trials for a face recognition system that will be able to compare a person’s current image with the one in the passport to catch imposters.

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Washington DC's Dulles airport is carrying out trials for a face recognition system that will be able to compare a person's current image with the one in the passport to catch imposters.

Currently, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is carrying out the system's trial at the airport.

The "two to three month" trial will not only use only face detection to catch suspicious travellers, it might also enable customs agents to double-check the identities of passengers.

In a statement, the US Homeland Security said that the aim of the project was to protect the country from terrorists and weapons of terrorism and to enhance economic security through lawful international trade and travel as the CBP had identified instances where imposters had tried to enter the country using apparently valid US passports.

The statement read: "During this pilot, CBP takes a photo of a US passport holder, applies facial recognition software algorithms to compare the photo taken against the pre existing photograph in the e-passport, and uses the results to assist in determining whether the person presenting the e-passport is the same person who was issued the e-passport."

With the trials, the department is trying to determine the usefulness of the technology and to check if it can be introduced in the current CBP entry processing.

As a part of the project, CBP will collect photographs of travellers passing through primary inspection, facial recognition match results, the date of issue of passport, CBPO determination of traveler age and passport country of issuance (if the traveller is directed to secondary inspection).


Image: The Washington Dulles International Airport. Photo: courtesy of Joe Ravi.