Australian minister lauds SmartGate system

050202_SmartGate02SYDNEY, Jan. 29 (UPI) — Australian Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says the SmartGate system offers an easier and more efficient alternative to airport customs efforts. O’Connor credited the SmartGate system, which uses ePassports and facial recognition technology to identify passengers, with simplifying passport control at airports throughout Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.

The popularity of SmartGate is really encouraging and we expect usage figures to continue to increase as more travelers take advantage of the self-processing option, O’Connor said. In the last three months alone, more than 330,000 travelers have used SmartGate at airports across Australia. Yet, Roger Clarke, a visiting fellow at Australian National University, questions how reliable the technology is compared with live customs workers.

(Customs) endeavored to run some trials as to the quality of the technology … and from everything that we can find out publicly, it performed extremely badly, Clarke told ABC. It’s quite unreliable. It’s not a security measure at all.