Feeds

Cardiff Airport gets more security theatre

Got a face, sir? Step this way

Security for virtualized datacentres

Cardiff Airport is joining Manchester in using facial recognition technology to automate passport checks for inbound passengers.

Anyone over 18 with a biometric passport issued since 2006 can choose to have their face scanned, matched to the picture held on a chip on their passport and, assuming there's a match, be allowed in.

Doesn't this sound marvellous? Except the gates in Manchester were throwing up so many false results that staff effectively turned them off. Previously matches had to be 80 per cent the same - this was quickly changed to 30 per cent.

This means the machines are unable to distinguish between the faces of Winona Ryder and Osama bin Laden. Even more worryingly, the adjusted gates failed to distinguish between renownded pseudo-Scot Mel Gibson and actual Scot Gordon Brown.

We asked the Home Office if the Cardiff machines will be run on the same basis as those in Manchester, but it was not able to reply. We also asked for figures on false results from the trial at Manchester which started in August 2008 - nothing there either.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "We will not give the error rates or technical specifications of the gates for commercial and security reasons. The gates have been independently verified by the International Commercial Aviation Organisation (ICAO) who set the standards for machine-readable travel documents."

The press release does tell us that 860,000 people have used the gates - but we don't know how many of those were Winona Ryder, and how many Osama bin Laden.

The technology is also being used at Stansted and Bristol airports.

We have a more detailed explanation of the weakness of current biometric technology here.

®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.