Feeds

back to article Airport face-scanning robots switched off

Facial recognition scanners at Manchester Airport have been switched off after an incident in which the robot guard let a couple through the gate even though they had swapped passports. An immigration officer stopped the couple after they got through the barrier. The UK Border Agency told the Beeb: "Following the incident, the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

FAIL

You what?

You mean our hugely expensive white-elephant automated passport gates are either broken or so unreliable they could be a plumber in their spare time?? NO - really? REALLY??

The chip doesn't contain the photo, it contains "biometric data" (which in reality is how ugly you are compared to the rest of the population)....I guess if two people were hit similarly with the ugly stick then it probably would let them through!

I say long live IRIS - it's never failed me, just a pity when you hand over a bomb for the non-working biometric junk, they take away your rights to IRIS....I'm told you can re-register, but I think they've moved the office to one of the remote Scottish islands to ensure you don't.

4
4
Grenade

Careful

Be careful using 'bomb' in a post about an airport -- management has no sense of humor about such things (ask Paul Chambers)

3
0
FAIL

RE: You what?

> The chip doesn't contain the photo

Yes it does.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Face scan at heathrow

Used the face scanner at Heathrow T5 last month .... wouldn't recognize my face until I was told to take my glasses off - it then recognized me even though my passport photo has me wearing glasses!

3
0
Silver badge

Fake scan

"it then recognized me even though my passport photo has me wearing glasses!"

It didn't recognise you - it fell back to default and identified you as a generic humun :-)

5
0
FAIL

the algorithm does not use the same information as you do when comparing faces!

facial recognition algorithms use supposedly unchanging features of your face so your glasses will have confused the scanner because it makes your eyes look different to the digital image it has of you, this is purely because of lack of image enhancement available through the machines optics and processing compared to that of the original photo.

1
0
Alert

Fake scan

You shoould try to get through human security in Tel Avivi when your passport picture is bearded and you aren't. Security guard's gaze see-sawed between me and passport numerous times. She eventually called a colleague who started the same - look down, look up, loook down, look up. Eventually she nodded to her collague, who handed back my passport, leaving me with nothing to do but change my pants.

2
0
IR

Happens with humans

My wife and I accidentally swapped passports at one point and both of us got through the people-operated checkpoints on our own. Granted I had long hair, but we don't look that much alike.

3
0
Silver badge

Can't tell arse from face

You start with "Can't tell arse from face" and then throw in "facial recognition gates"

And you REALLY don't expect me to read that as 'faecal recognition'?

6
0
Joke

It won't work

Because clearly, these devices don't know sh*t!

6
0
Bronze badge

I'm not sure how...

I'm not sure how these automated devices are supposed to reduce costs and improve efficiency as whenever I come through Heathrow or Gatwick there always only ever seem to be 2 or 3 agents on the gates, with a whole plethora of uniformed people standing around chatting in the background. It seems to me that they take a perverse pleasure in forcing people into long queues and then making them wait.

Rather than simply defaulting to installing unproved technology, I think the better way to improve efficiency and drive down costs at the border coalface is to employ a suitably qualified management consultant to drive through better resource and capacity management processes.

But hey, what do I know. I'm just one of the sheep right?

5
1
Anonymous Coward

@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

"with a whole plethora of uniformed people standing around"

Was that a typo.... did you mean uninformed people???

5
0
Silver badge
Troll

Management consultants?!

Are you a sadist ASaDH?? The system is incompetent enough without bringing those in!

<--- Hair standing on end in horror icon

2
0
Gold badge
Happy

@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

"suitably qualified management consultant "

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Who do you think *proposed* this little wheeze in the first place?

0
0
Silver badge

But... but... but...

David Blunkett told me that biometrics were infallible. My universe is broken.

9
0
Coat

Biometrics ARE infallible;

Blunkett himself did a test, and the machine sucessfully matched faces to photographs far more often than he did.

19
0

Pretty much my experince

I got through one in Stansted last year, while my partner couldn't get it to recognise her. She was told to use a different gate, and I suspect the good old-fashioned biological security pushed a button to make it open.

At Heathrow in January this year (Terminal 4, I think) there were two, both out of action, while huge queues formed for the non-automated passport checks. (Only two people on the desks, of course.)

3
0
Gold badge
Coat

Evaluation

"I recommend that the UK Border Agency gives priority to evaluating the actual benefits intended by such technology."

They already did an evaluation, it's just that there are absolutely no benefits (that can be written down)* so the file was blank. It just looked like there hadn't been an evaluation.

I can't decide on which icon to use. They all look the same :)

*The actual benefits can't be written down for fear of getting in trouble. (Project visits to a villa in Portugal, business meetings in posh restaurants / theatres paid for by the supplier, etc...)

10
0
Silver badge
WTF?

Huh?

"Vine found gates broken at the airport five times in a week – four out of five times the damage was technical and one had broken down due to a lack of staff responsible for repairing the device. UKBA told Vine that maintenance of the machines was the responsibility of a company based in Portugal and machines were meant to be fixed within four working days."

So their response was basically "Yes, we know they're crap machines, but we've accounted for that by off-shoring the maintenance duties and setting really low standards for repair times"?

5
0
WTF?

I'd...

... like to shake the hand of the salesman who sold them the 96 hour repair SLA, to be run from Portugal, yet!

What a bunch of fucking morons.

7
0

It's obvious really....

Derren Brown does their sales presentations!

2
0
Happy

And...

travel to be provided by RyanAir?

1
0
Bronze badge
Coat

What if..

..the engineer from Portugal got bumped 'cos his biome...

Coat. Home. Tataa.

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Face recognition...

... Yep, that's definitely a face, I'd recognise one anywhere!

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Manchester scanners

Regularly takes me 3 or 4 attempts because the scanning unit can't raise itself high enough to get level with my face. Clearly they only expect the centre section of the height bell curve to use them. At 6'5" I have to crouch to get through...

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

I have to crouch to get through...

Clearly you're not aware that the correct position *is* bent over...!

0
0
Gold badge
Coat

Oops!

"At 6'5" I have to crouch to get through..."

It says here that Crouch is 6' 7".......

2
1
Gold badge
Happy

AC@17:58

And as an outlier on the bell curve you're *clearly* suspicious.

Were you carrying a camera as well?

0
0
Coat

Excuse me madam...

"...but I couldn't help notice that you are rather old."

"Well...yes."

Yes I watched every episode (and the continuous repeats of said sketch on BBC HD Preview).

I'll never look at an airport the same way after that.

0
0
Thumb Down

Rare to find any of them in operation

I've used then once each at Bristol, Brum and Gatwick without a problem in the last couple of years, and jolly nice it was too escaping the long queue for the wetware-scan. But the bloody things are almost never in operation. There's a nice set of them at Luton which must have been there for a year now and which I've never seen working, despite the tons of signage instructing you to use them.

The signage, and the ads in the inflight magazines, serve as an annoying reminder to me how much of the nation's hard-earned has been pissed up the wall on this one. One would think the whole point of the evaluation was not to splash everywhere before you knew the gadgetry was working.

Part of me, though, wonders whether the reason they are always off has more to do with border union relations than the tech. Mind you, they are Windows-based, so I'll give the unions the benefit of the doubt for now.

2
0
FAIL

Ah haha haha hahahahaha !!!!

a

3
0

Google Picassa

I used the face recognition feature in Picassa - it worked really well. Would pick out faces of family correctly even if they were in the background etc. What also suprised me is that it matched pictures of my parents now (both >80) with pictures from their wedding - some 60 years ago and scanned in. Interestingly - there were very few false positives.

Maybe someone in Manchester airport wants to have a look at Googles offering - can't see it being any more evil than the current one;)?

1
0
Silver badge

I agree

Picasa is really quite good at matching faces.

0
0
Bronze badge

seconded

better than iPhoto '09 (which often locked up my whole system when I first started using the faces feature) and picks up family resemblances well. it's also crack-like addictive training it: one more face, one more face! gotta match 'em all!!

0
0

Rehash...

...of http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/01/ukba_facial_recognition_criticised/

Wake me up when the news is new...

0
1

I've just had an idea.

They could employ people to compare faces with passport photos.

7
0
Flame

Heathrow FAIL

One of the the arrivals scanners at Heathrow failed to recognise me, comically making me look into successively lower screen until I was practically squatting. It still failed. I noted that there was a half-obscured PC Anywhere generic error message (of the sort that just says, "There has been an error") on the screen. Great. Which idiot implemented these?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Security by assumption.

So, you introduce a world-wide assault on privacy by RFIDing everybody's passports and putting in "biometric" data, and you just /assume/ the scanners will work right to the point that you don't even put people on them, despite this technology having trouble not breaking down nevermind recognizing anything. And you keep on assuming it works right despite clearly and utterly damning evidence to the contrary because... what, exactly?

That other "biometric" approach? Fingerprints? Turns out you can fake those with gummi bears. What's next, faking iris scans with a common or kindergarten variety marble?

I could reiterate all the arguments why this doesn't work, why in fact it simply cannot work. Why in fact it's entirely counter-productive to try and deploy biometrics, as well as a grave insult to everyone's humanity. But this is such a vivid illustration how that is just not an issue for whoever sets the standards with these things.

Why are those people still in charge? Is it the pork barrel kickbacks?

3
0
FAIL

I mooned it

and got right through. lucky me

0
0
Silver badge

Missing the point much?

"Brodie Clark ... said: “There was no breach of security or immigration control. E-Gates are used in conjunction with manual checking by border officials ... , and the border was not compromised as a result of the incident. The gates have now re-opened and we will continue to monitor their performance to ensure they operate safely and securely. To date more than 3 million people have used the E-Gates system.""

This is a willful smokescreen that misses the importance of this failure. The staff noticed that these two had switched passports and got through (any bets that it was a couple of teenagers just seeing what would happen, and being really obvious about it?). However, that shows that it is possible to game the system, and that there has been an unknown number of false positives generated by the system, which may only be the two in this case, but with a sample of 3 million is likely to be higher.

OK, false positives are always going to be a problem with any workable identity system dealing with thousands of people a day (as someone else said above, I know someone that has gone through borders with the IDs of several different people). The only advantage I can see here is that there is a second level of security - the staff - that aren't there when there are human passport checkers. However, they are around to deal with negatives not positives.

This is a waste of time and money, and Brodie Clark clearly knows it.

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

"compare your face with the image stored on the chip of a biometric passport"

A business partner who shares my dislike for mysterious government electronics has a 'neutered' passport (place mug of cold water in microwave along with passport and cook on high for a minute) that he knows to be a non-working chip.

He flew into the UK at Christmas and the machine accepted him as being who the passport (didn't) show to be.

Another useless government project.

3
0

Nexus

I'm afraid it sounds like Nexus in the US/Canada makes a hell of a lot more sense. First its opt-in, your not forced to provide biometrics, and second its based on an IRIS scan which I've never had a problem with.

0
0
Unhappy

"its based on an IRIS scan which I've never had a problem with"

Try looking cross-eyed when they try to register your data - really screws the machines up!

Ain't technology wonderful?

0
0
Pint

All I have to say is...

4 working days is 6 hours in "Portugal Time (TM)"

Portugal - "1 hour and 30 years behind the rest of Europe."

In a good way, mainly, but fuck me the paperwork hangover from communism is unbelievable! Seriously, it takes more form filling to join a college evening class in Portugal than it does to get a passport in the UK. No joke.

Only used those bio-gates once, let me into Portugal no probs.

Beer cos they have cheapo booze.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Que?

Salazar and Estado Novo were right-wing.

You know, it's not just lefties who want the world made according to their desires and who kill until they get it; righties do it too.

Let's not try to blame Portugal's ills on a temporary step to the left post-Caetano. 40 years of right wing authoritarianism most certainly left its mark.

1
0
Bronze badge

Finnish Social Security (aka. KELA) appears as frightening...

I spent hours poring over the form - multi-page - the first time.

To make sure I was OK, I took it to an official. "I don't want to get anything wrong here*"

She looked at it, it was OK and stamped it. Her passing remark was the equivalent of "Don't take this bollock*s too seriously".

I.e., the more papers they are forced to look through, the less they give a shit.

* I've heard disaster stories of folks who skive a couple of days on a KELA-organised training course, getting ALL benefit stopped for 90 days, including housing allowance. Stay with friends, or sleep on the street. As it's -31C at the moment, I wanted to be sure....

1
0
Thumb Up

Re: Que

Fair 'nough mate... I went there to build a house, not do a history degree :)

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Pareidolia

It LOOKS like a face....It MIGHT be a face....hmmmmm.....yes, I think it IS a face.

Or then again, maybe not.

0
1
FAIL

"To date more than 3 million people have used the E-Gates system"

I'm not sure we're seeing all of this quote. Is the rest of the sentence "...and at least one of them has been correctly identified."?

1
0

We had this last year

"96 hour repair SLA, to be run from Portugal"

What could possibly go wrong, we asked.

Derrrrrr

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.