UK airport e-gates could potentially be replaced by facial recognition technology instead of relying on passports.

The director of Border Force reportedly aims to create an “intelligent border” after being impressed by similar systems in Australia and Dubai. The proposed plans include replacing the need to present passports on arrival with facial recognition technology. Phil Douglas, the director-general of Border Force, expressed his interest in implementing a frictionless facial recognition system similar to e-gate schemes in Australia and Dubai. Trials for the system are expected to begin at airports this year, with a procurement process for the necessary hardware following if successful. Douglas has been advocating for the use of biometrics and data security in managing the UK’s borders, even suggesting in February 2023 that the traditional paper passport was becoming obsolete. He believes in a future where passports are no longer required, and biometrics alone would suffice. It was also reported that biometric details of British and Irish travelers are already captured during the passport application process, providing additional information about individuals upfront. Despite the potential benefits, some people may still have reservations about eliminating passports entirely.

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