Feeds

Cardiff Airport gets more security theatre

Got a face, sir? Step this way

Top three mobile application threats

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.

®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.