The New Face of Airport Security

Officials at Heathrow Airport and the British Airports Authority quietly established new security measures at London‘s busy airport in early February 2008.

In 2004-2006, Heathrow Airport was one of the first in the world to introduce new security measures that also allowed for quicker security checks in a few of their terminals. Dubbed “Project Iris,” the technology was meant for better immigration control.

EyePassengers could pre-register a photograph of their eye that would be stored in the airport’s database along with the passenger’s passport details. At security checks, passengers would step up to an eye or iris-scanner and would be cleared through security. This option was available mainly for UK citizens and frequent visitors to the UK.

Years later in early February 2008, the BAA and Heathrow Airport established new biometric security measure to better manage passengers in both their domestic and international lounges. The reason why it is felt that new security measures are necessary – is to be able to identify passengers after they have entered the departure gate, to ensure that they don’t swap tickets.

The newest biometric measures that will be taken of passengers will be: fingerprints and a digital photograph. These will be checked and matched right before boarding the plane. Authorities have stated that all biometric data are destroyed within 24 hours.

Since 9/11, many security measures have become more stringent and thorough – to cause one to wonder at what point will or has privacy taken a back seat?

Heathrow Airport

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