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Biometric Identification Security Checks for Travel?

Retina ScanBiometric identifiers seem to be the future of airport security screenings. London’s Heathrow Airport is running a trial program for screening air passengers on Emirates and Cathay Pacific flights to and from Dubai and Hong Kong through the end of January. The test, called miSense, is voluntary. The goal is to enroll 2,000 passengers using Emirates and Cathay Pacific to test basic and advanced biometric checks as a possible security screening tool.

It’s all very George Jetson.

What is the purpose when passengers will still have to go through the regular security checkpoint and x-ray machine? The hope is to prevent people from entering (or leaving) a country illegally using a fake passport. I’m all for keeping the bad guys out, but this is WAY too big brotherish for me.

Project Iris (Iris Recognition Immigration System) is being tested at Heathrow, as well as the fingerprint system. Project Iris uses iris-scanning technology to identify frequent travelers and expedite immigration. The eligible traveler have photos taken of his or her iris. The photos are linked to their passport information and stored in an Immigration Service database, along with immigration status information and a photograph.

In Sweden, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is launching an optional biometric fingerprint reading to track luggage. With this system, passengers register their fingerprint when checking baggage and again at the gate. This is supposed to ensure that travelers are automatically matched to their checked baggage. Using this system, a photo ID will not be required.

Biometric passports with embedded information will be the norm in the future. Biometric information is being collected for the new Registered Traveler program in the US. Around the globe, locations such as Norway and Hong Kong are looking at biometric passports or ID cards to make security more…secure.