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"Paris Airport Tests Facial Recognition at Security"
Monday, February 13, 2017
Paris Airport Tests Facial Recognition at Security
By Andrea Rothman
Groupe ADP, the operator of Paris’s airports, has begun testing new
face-recognition software at Charles de Gaulle airport to speed passengers
through immigration faster after terrorist attacks on the capital doubled
delays amid tighter security.
The new software is from Vision-Box, a closely held company in Portugal, and
Morpho Detection, a unit of Safran SA now being sold to Smiths Group Plc.
Following the attacks in Paris and Nice in 2015 and 2016, the state required
computer records of every passenger passing border control. That doubled the
number of passengers exposed to waits of as much as an extra hour to get
through controls, ADP said.
“We had to do something to address this,” Chief Executive Officer Augustin de
Romanet said at a briefing.
The move comes as airports worldwide are rushing to tap digital technologies,
including biometric recognition, to speed passengers through airports, where
delays are generally far more punishing than ones in the air.
The only speedy pass-through available at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly
Airports now is Parafe, an automated system for French citizens that scans
their biometric passports and fingerprints. Only 3 percent of people passing
through Charles de Gaulle use Parafe, which has been in use since 2009.
The Vision-Box software will check passport images with people’s faces from all
28 European Union countries. If trials go well and the French state signs off
on use of the software, the number of people going biometrics to speed passage
could climb to as much as 20 percent of the average 180,000 people passing
through daily, said Franck Goldnadel, chief airport operations officer, in an
ADP has 37 machines in use with Parafe and has ordered 87 more through 2021, of
which 45 will arrive this year. De Romanet said it’s normally the government
that would invest in such equipment but in the absence of funding, ADP invested
an initial 6 million euros ($6.3 millio) of its own to help break logjams.
KLM has just begun a three month trial to use face-scanning technology at
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. in Japan the government last year invested to
install facial recognition systems at airports nationwide. And in the U.S.,
biometric screening firm Clear is expanding to 22 major airports. Clear charges
travelers $170 a year to enroll, whereas the French system would be free.
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