Passport changes will cause diabolical delays: expert

Emergent passport technology could cause diabolical delays at airports, says expert.

Passport changes will cause diabolical delays: expert

Boarding passes are going digital and by 2020, the Australian Government was hoping to have a system in place that processed around 90 per cent of travellers automatically. While all of the necessary technology to make this happen is in place, we may have a bit longer to wait before biometric passports are introduced.

Considering the recent chaos caused by all SmartGate passport control machines systems across Australia going out of commission for six hours, maybe waiting a bit longer is a good thing.

During this outage, passengers were waiting up to 90 minutes for document checks alone. The only reason they were able to get through the gates was because the Australian Border Force was able to manually check all physical documentation to process travellers.

If there were no such things as paperwork and passports, a similar technology failure would likely cause Australia’s airports to come to a halt.

Don’t think though that this situation is a deterrent for fully automatic systems being introduced in the near future. It will happen.

And when it does, says the head of the border security program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, John Coyne, some travellers can expect diabolical delays at airports.

However, other obviously low-risk travellers would be processed without their knowledge and would barely be held up.

A traveller’s biometric characteristics – face, iris and/or fingerprints – would be collected unobtrusively by advanced technologies before departure and on arrival into Australia.

Confirmation of a person’s identity and visa or residency status would be matched with any information stored in security or government databases. Artificial intelligence-driven assessments would then calculate the risk each traveller presents in terms of criminality and national security. All this would happen almost instantaneously.

Processing the expanding volume of travellers passing through airports each year is time-consuming and expensive. If tourism growth continues at the same rate year on year, soon the cost to facilitate travel and security will become prohibitive.

To focus on real threats, the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police need cheaper and smarter ways to process low-risk travellers. Hence the call for biometrics and artificial intelligence-driven risk analysis.

But Mr Coyne thinks it might be prudent to wait until any potential kinks – such as last week’s nationwide outage – can be ironed out and the system can be finetuned before being implemented.

“If the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is right, then surely our biometrics – our facial characteristics and finger prints – should be worth a whole lot more to us than convenience,” writes Mr Coyne.

“I am not suggesting that Australians should reject this new technology, but that they shouldn’t be too quick to get rid of passports or handover their biometrics.

“If the government intends to make further changes to Australia’s border security arrangements, then it needs to present a compelling case to the public that at the very least clearly articulates the risks.”

Do you have a problem with biometric passports? Are you comfortable with the current system or would you be happy to carry one less piece of ID around with you?

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    COMMENTS

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    Huskie
    18th May 2019
    7:50am
    Whilst the use of Biometrics is quick and easy, the reliance on Facial Recognition and Fingerprints is fraught with danger! Years ago I was given a project to develop truly reliable ID Card. It turned out the ONLY reliable form of Identity is the Voice! It is impossible to duplicate. Even the ATO uses it to confirm Identity for telephone interactions.
    Rosret
    18th May 2019
    8:04am
    Yes - FB makes incorrect assumptions on facial recognition all the time. However Google often doesn't recognise my voice in the morning either!
    Sceptic
    18th May 2019
    11:47am
    Huskie, your keywords are "years ago." Times change and the advancements are astronomical.
    Dobbo1
    18th May 2019
    8:20am
    Fingerprints are not reliable for some, especially my wife, who has been pulled up twice, in Hawaii and LA, for fingerprints that didn't match. This was despite other identification. I thought I might get a holiday on my own, but eventually they let her in!
    Therese
    18th May 2019
    11:11am
    This will happen to many women. The reason for that is when women use the nailfile. This will distort the fingertips. I have experienced that while I was visiting a friend's son in jail. Everytime a used a nailfile for my nails and filed around it the security system could not cope with it. I presume this will be exactly the same.
    Therese
    18th May 2019
    11:11am
    This will happen to many women. The reason for that is when women use the nailfile. This will distort the fingertips. I have experienced that while I was visiting a friend's son in jail. Everytime a used a nailfile for my nails and filed around it the security system could not cope with it. I presume this will be exactly the same.
    Chris B T
    18th May 2019
    8:53am
    The Electronic Media In My Area ie. NBN, Email,Mobile,Landline Telephone All are unreliable,constant dropouts.
    Automatic Teller Outages, EFPOST Outages.
    To rely on these Electronic Services is a Nightmare Waiting To Happen.
    Cowboy Jim
    19th May 2019
    5:48pm
    Have been using cash for some time again for exactly that reason, use Eftpos for paying bills at the post office but if that fails I do have the cash to settle. Hopefully when all these changes come in with passports I might be too old to travel abroad (just check your insurance).
    The Bronze Anzac
    18th May 2019
    9:47am
    The BEST answer to this is to introduce an Australian NATIONAL I.D. Card, with photo & encrypted information, which would include passport & any visa details. I realise that this issue has been discussed & put into the too hard basket, but it would be a simple solver for many applications for all persons over a certain age.
    Cowboy Jim
    19th May 2019
    5:54pm
    The Bronce - I have got one of those from Europe, size of a credit card. You show it everywhere and it is good for international air ports anywhere in Europe outside Russia and Belarus. Cannot really see the reason Australia could not introduce one of those as they could also be used to identify yourself at the voting booth (where at the moment I can vote on behalf of someone who doesn't bother).
    Ted Wards
    20th May 2019
    3:27pm
    The Bronze Anzac... forgotten about the Australia card debacle already lol.
    MICK
    18th May 2019
    10:14am
    You have a short memory Leon. We always used to wait a long time to get through the queues. At Los Angeles that was double if you arrived at the wrong time.
    Like may area of life people do not know how good they have got it and complain endlessly when the past comes back for a taste of days gone by. That's electronics for you. We'll survive though.
    David
    18th May 2019
    11:23am
    Ever since my passport was renewed a few years ago now I have ALWAYS been asked to step aside & BTW I have no criminal record or anything like that. I am questioned as to my destination (boarding pass says that anyway). Surely Immigration/Border Control need only check once using a dropdown note or whatever crosschecking my passport number, name & date of birth thus clearing me for travel. Not once have Immigration indicated why I need further scrutiny & this also goes when re entering Australia. I know I have a common name, but surely to be subject to this type of treatment is unnecessary given the number of times I have exited & re entered Australia. I have had my passport checked by the issuing authority & all good. The passport chip & passport is not damaged & they have no idea as to why I am always being scrutinised. I have no issue whatsoever with Immigration/ Border Control exercising due diligence, however, to be subject to being treated like an undesirable or criminal is what I view as personally demeaning. Update their records!!
    cookie47
    18th May 2019
    11:43am
    Yes David.
    As another David I have the same problem departing and arriving Australia using egates.
    Facial recognition does not work for me and my passport is only 5 years since renewal. After waiting for the egate to do its thing (which is nothing) I get pulled aside and manually processed, whilst holding up the line and looking like a criminal.. NOT.
    I asked the immigration officer what's the problem, all I get is DUNNO MATE. So I can't even hope to fix it. We go to Singapore regularly as we have relatives working there. No problem with the Singapore fingerprint machine. Face comes up on computer every time.. I know from other posts that finger prints can be a problem.... But hey...
    Karl Marx
    18th May 2019
    12:14pm
    Same with me, every time I depart Australia, One Border Security asked me if I lost weight from the time my passport was issued because my face looks thinner, maybe that's it. I sometimes have the same issue with my drivers licence when using it for ID purposes.
    No problem, never caused me to miss a flight, not really an inconvenience, just means I have my beer a few minutes later. I just smile & say thank you & Border Security are always polite & with a smile.
    No issues coming back though, don't figure
    pedro the swift
    18th May 2019
    11:41am
    Its all veuy well for Aus to go to electronic recognition etc and do away with passports , but what of other countries?
    And we have seen what happens when the system goes bad. The next obvious suggestion is a tattoed number(been done before somewhere else, I recall) or an implanted chip, although that could also bee hacked changed etc. Can't beat the best security, the Mark One Eyeball!
    Bushbaby
    18th May 2019
    11:41am
    According to the corrections dept I have no fingerprints! They were unable to be detected when I visited a person in jail some time ago. An iris scan was also problematic but eventually succeeded. Welcome to the age of robotic technology ....
    Blossom
    18th May 2019
    12:06pm
    Voice recognition is not going to work if you are sick......or a lot older and your voice alters.
    Huskie
    18th May 2019
    12:14pm
    It works until you lose your voice or larynx. The basics of your voice do not change over time.
    Karl Marx
    18th May 2019
    12:19pm
    or you are mute. And I didn't say it for a laugh either as there are many born without vocal cords or restricted vocal cords & some lose them over time through cancer etc.
    Tom Tank
    18th May 2019
    1:15pm
    Modern technology is wonderful until it stops working then all hell breaks loose.
    The recent issue with passport control has not, to my knowledge, been explained. Imagine if it was the result of a hacker getting into the system and fiddling with it. Far fetched you say but no one can ever say any system is totally secure and only a fool would believe that. Look at recent experience with aircraft systems preventing pilots from doing their work.
    Tom Tank
    18th May 2019
    1:15pm
    Modern technology is wonderful until it stops working then all hell breaks loose.
    The recent issue with passport control has not, to my knowledge, been explained. Imagine if it was the result of a hacker getting into the system and fiddling with it. Far fetched you say but no one can ever say any system is totally secure and only a fool would believe that. Look at recent experience with aircraft systems preventing pilots from doing their work.
    Watto
    18th May 2019
    4:17pm
    Nobody will implant a chip in me. Pedro the gullible


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