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Robot agents will spare you from airport customs checks

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 22, 2015
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If you're a frequent international flier, you know the pain of the customs check -- outside of the security inspection, it's one of the biggest hurdles you have to clear at the airport. You won't have to deal with it for much longer if Thales has its way. The electronics firm has developed a robot agent that not only checks you into your flight and prints tickets, but shares both a headshot and an iris scan with airport computers to verify whether or not you're a known threat. You wouldn't necessarily have to visit customs after landing in a new country -- you'd just leave the airport. Also, your boarding pass would include an encrypted version of that photo to save you the trouble of an ID inspection at the gate.

There's no doubt that the Thales tech raises privacy concerns, like other face recognition systems. Your image would be accessible on many more machines, and it's not certain that the airport could keep that info secure. If the robot's face detection is reasonably airtight, though, it would both save you a lot of time and reduce that sometimes overbearing security presence at the terminal.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig]

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