The United Arab Emirates is set to become one of the most technically advanced countries when it comes to border control. The Emirates will deploy a series of biometric e-gates at all entry points while also working to gather more biometric data to add to the fingerprints currently tracked in its biometric database.
The biometric system will be the most comprehensive of any in the world, using eye scans, facial recognition and fingerprinting, in addition to the ability to detect forged passports, to process all incoming travelers.
The collection of emirates has the advantage of being ruled by a series of absolute monarchs, making it far easier to implement broad security measures such as these that might be a cause for concern in privacy-wary Western countries rocked by continual revelations of government intrusions and everyday spying.
The specific technologies will include biometric gates, e-kiosks and early processing of incoming traveler information said Colonel Barakat Al Kendi, Head of Systems Development and Chairman of e-Transformation Strategy at Ministry of Interior speaking at a recent conference on the issue. His title alone demonstrates a serious commitment to this issue. He said:
Dubai airports will receive about 80 million passengers this year and Abu Dhabi will see an increase of 20 per cent in passenger handling and borders should be prepared to handle this increased traffic," he said.
The government is aiming at a new project for adopting the latest technology and continuation of earlier projects. "We have a holistic view to have all partners to facilitate the flow of passengers across the borders.
The new e-ports system will use fingerprint screening to check for any security-related restrictions against passengers, while non-residents will be screened using iris scanning.
Al Kendi says that the new iris scan technologies have already led to preventing entry from 400,000 people. He didn't mention what this figure was prior.
Biometric systems have been gaining in popularity as more countries switch to chip-embedded passports that integrate easily with the technologies. The other growing issue facing governments and airport managers is the sheer number of travelers. Already overwhelmed by waves of delays at borders, a projected doubling of passenger traffic by 2030 means that borders must become more efficient at recognizing and safely processing incoming travelers.
Other countries are testing and gradually rolling out different types of digital biometrics controlled of various intensities. The United States has committed heavily to its Advanced Border Control, which relies on a series of kiosks to process incoming travelers. This project has been several years in the making and is finally starting to trickle down into more airports across that country.
NB: Biometric image courtesy Shutterstock.