Biometrics hold key to hi-tech Revolution

Published November 21, 2003

PARIS: The executive skips past the snaking airport check-in queue, waves a credit-card size pass at a monitor, puts a finger into a hi-tech reader and proceeds to the boarding zone thinking: “Some day, we’ll all fly like this.”

Science fiction? Not at all. “Biometrics”, the technology that uses fingerprints, the voice, face or eyes to identify an individual, is set to revolutionize the way we travel and live.

French firm Sagem, Aeroports de Paris, Air France and police are already discussing ways to enable frequent flyers to breeze through check-in procedures with a biometric smart card.

“They are more likely to agree to give their fingerprints” in order to benefit from fast-track embarking, Sagem’s Jean-Charles Pignot told Reuters at an annual security exhibition outside Paris.

A pilot project at Paris’ main Charles de Gaulle airport seeks to ensure the person who checks in is the same one who actually boards the plane, placing a passenger’s fingerprints on the magnetic strip in the boarding pass.

Pignot said Sagem technology is already in use at the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. New York police and the US Department of Homeland Security installed it after Sept 11.—Reuters

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