If you’re travelling to Australia in coming months and happen to look something like drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman or perhaps Russia’s No 1 thug Semion Mogilevich, not to mention a few Middle East personalities, you could be in for an uncomfortable time at the incoming desk.
The Federal Government has awarded Vision-Box Australia a $22.5 million contract to replace airport smartgates with an automated system that uses facial recognition to clear – or otherwise – incoming travellers.
Innocent travellers will no longer need to present their passports, as the system matches individuals against facial images stored in airlines’ advanced passenger processing systems, rather than their passport chip.
The Immigration Department says it is looking to achieve a clearance rate of at least 90 percent of international travellers through its newly automated systems by 2020.
Canberra Airport will be the first to be equipped with the facial recognition system, but the plan is to speedily spread it to all 10 of Australia’s international airports.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the project will reinforce the Government’s commitment to protecting Australian borders while providing a seamless experience for most travellers. El Chapo lookalikes, be careful …