Eurostar to roll out facial recognition for ‘passport-free’ commute to Europe

Eurostar to roll out facial recognition for ‘passport-free’ commute to Europe

Facial recognition will originate passports on the Eurotunnel an chance in resolution to a necessity, but privateness campaigners have wondered whether gathering biometric data on passengers is crucial

Laura Middag Alvarez


Printed: 19 Jun 2020 12: 30

Eurostar is to deploy biometric facial verification by iProov to allow Eurostar passengers to take a look at-in and board with out showing their passports.

By March 2021, travellers at London’s St Pancras International Web page will likely be in a purpose to gallop down a contactless, camera-lined “biometric corridor” with out presenting any formal identification.

Passengers can decide to check their identification upfront by importing a selfie and a picture of their passport, after which they receive a message to verify their identification doc has been secured.

The federal government-backed machine is intended to tempo up boarding, slash queues and obtain rid of bodily contact throughout the Covid-19 disaster, and passports and tickets will only be fundamental as soon as prospects reach their commute online page.

Privacy campaigners had wondered the must introduce facial recognition cameras when commute on Eurostar already makes employ of contactless technology.

Ilia Siatitsa, honest officer at Privacy International, mentioned the stage of intrusion of facial recognition technology is so high that the legality of its employ wants to be wondered.

“Being efficient or snappy for travelling [is] now not ample justification for introducing such intrusive technology, notably where there would possibly perhaps be different choices,” she mentioned.

iProov will direction of photos to originate obvious the identification and “real presence” of the passenger. The technology objectives to check that the particular person is a accurate particular person and now not a picture, video, cowl or deepfake. 

Andrew Bud, Founder and CEO at iProov, described the accomplishing a “world first”, and mentioned the initiative has grown from its current honest to abet “slash commute congestion and help passengers nice looking”, and is now going to abet “help members steady in an endemic world by social distancing and contactless interplay”.

Moral questions

Privacy International’s honest officer Ilia Siatitsa, mentioned that “intrusive technologies” elevate moral and data protection questions. “Biometrics are a for sure sensitive class of data … We can not alternate our facial characteristics, fingerprints, or our DNA.”

Facial recognition technologies by both police and non-public companies can have a “seismic impact” in the functionality monitoring of members, she mentioned. “With facial recognition, the stage of intrusion is so high that the legality wants to be wondered to originate up with.”

Siatitsa mentioned commute and the processing of identification paperwork are already close to contactless. “You lunge, you scan your price, you pass the safety take a look at,” she mentioned. “It’s tough to ogle … the justification for rolling facial recognition when there would possibly be already rather an efficient direction of in field.”

No must ‘fumble’ with paper tickets

Bud mentioned Eurostar’s previous machine eager “fumbling around with scraps of paper and barcodes”.

Facial recognition technology is a gradual and indispensable addition to public existence. “The citizen is conscious of that their face is to be verified, they consent to [it] and obtain non-public back from being verified,” mentioned Bud. 

Eurostar’s method director Gareth Williams mentioned that putting off the need for passports by the utilization of biometric facial verification will “improve passenger ride” and “offer a are living illustration of how innovation can back the high-tempo rail and worldwide transport industries”.

The initiative is section of a £9.4 million competitors funded by the Division for Transport to method rail commute and facilitate contactless journeys. On Wednesday, the division offered iProov a £388,000 grant to finalise trends.

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