Biometric Passport Stands Debut at Ben-Gurion Airport

Israel took another step toward biometric identification on Wednesday, introducing 17 biometric passport stands to the Passport Control section of Ben-Gurion airport, according to Channel 10

Four stations already were in place as part of a pilot study for the program, which waives the long lines at Passport Control and allows Israelis and tourists to pass instead via a facial recognition system. 

Several of the stations are optimized for children, the disabled, and the short, according to the news agency. 

Interior Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) praised the move Wednesday, noting that it "puts us on par with international service providers." 

The additional stations were installed following a legally-mandatory satisfaction survey carried out by the Central Bureau for Population and Immigration Authority. The survey indicated that most Israeli passengers were highly satisfied with biometric passports, with some 86% approving of the shorter wait time and of the process in general. 

"This is another step in our project to promote improved service to the public," Immigration Authority CEO Amnon Ben-Ami stated Wednesday. "The stations prove themselves every day, both with the Israeli public and with tourists." 

The move is the latest in the implication of the Biometric Database Law, which mandates the collection of fingerprints and facial contours from all Israeli residents for integration in domestic ID cards and national passports.

The same law mandated creation of a biometric government database of that information, to be used for management of access control, identification of individuals and to assist in locating individuals suspected of criminal activity by the law enforcement officials.

The law was passed in part to prevent identity theft and the loss, theft and destruction of the flimsy blue ID cards issued by the Interior Ministry, which had spiraled out of control in the decade prior to 2007. It was later revealed that more than half of those requesting new documents had a criminal background.

Since the first phase offering a switch to biometric identification on a volunteer basis was implemented in June 2013, some 640,000 people have entered the biometric database, according to former Interior Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud). 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195649

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