Brussels Airport starts facial recognition trials


Brussels Airport will join other major airports in Europe in using facial recognition software, as a pilot project is introduced in January

System prevents identity fraud

Brussels Airport plans to introduce facial recognition scanners next year, the management company said. The technology is already in use at other major airports in Europe, including Heathrow (pictured) and Schiphol.

Six of the so-called e-gates that use facial recognition software will be introduced in a pilot project for citizens of EU member states travelling from outside the Schengen area, which consists of 22 of the 28 EU member states, as well as EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Facial recognition systems use “landmarks” on faces such as size and place of significant features, which can then be compared in photo and real-time versions. So, while a passenger growing a beard may confuse the system, if enough identifying landmarks are still visible, recognition is still possible. A more modern system turns the texture of the skin of the face into a mathematical model that is virtually impossible to disguise, as the texture of the facial skin is as individual as a fingerprint.

The system is intended to combat fraud associated with false documents. The photo originally approved for use in the passport is compared with a photo taken on the spot as the traveller passes through the system, and anomalies are signalled to airport security officers. The pilot project will be evaluated later with a view to extending the system. 

photo: Bonus bon/Wikimedia

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