Heathrow airport introduces biometric security system

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Heathrow airport introduces biometric security system

A new check-in system using biometric technology was officially opened today at London's Heathrow airport.

Using fingerprint, face and iris recognition, miSense will be tested on selected flights until the end of January 2007. It is hoped that this technology will not only simplify and speed up airport check-in and boarding, but also further strengthen levels of security.

Passengers travelling on certain flights between Heathrow and Dubai with Emirates, or to Hong Kong with Cathy Pacific, will be able to take part in the trials. Participants will simply be asked to scan their passports and right index fingerprint when checking in, using a miSense self-service desk. The information will then be stored and used along with a boarding pass to verify them both at security control and when boarding the plane.

Alex van Someren, CEO of nCipher, the company responsible for securing all collected passenger data, is positive about this new technology. "The recent long delays at London airports as a result of tightened security checks have highlighted how much we need a more sophisticated system that will strengthen security while improving the passenger experience. This is one of the main aims of miSense," he said.

A second trial, involving the Government Immigration Services of the UK, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates, is also scheduled to take place. MiSenseplus will use scans of a passenger's ten fingerprints, an image of their face for facial recognition, and an iris scan, to create an automated fast track passport control service.
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