Thales is taking its biometric technology from airports to security forces’ mobile phones

Biometric technology allows identifying a person’s identity within seconds. It is very useful, for example, in passenger control at airports, entry and exit points for thousands of people every day, which is already very widespread. The European unionWithout further ado, an ambitious project is underway to protect it Schengen area It will launch next year with this technology based on complex facial recognition and fingerprint verification algorithms. Any non-EU citizen must go through a check as a security measure to verify their identity.

But the applications don’t end there. Security forces have their eyes on this technology. Biometrics can greatly simplify the process of identifying a hypothetical suspect or prisoner. An agent on the street, with a cell phone and a biometric application, quickly clears doubts.

This is one of the lines in which the multinational company operates Thales, one of the leaders at border control posts and kiosks. He does it from Spain. Especially since it’s his Boarder and Travel Skills Centre In Madrid. The idea is to use all the experience accumulated in the design of this type of equipment for airports or railway stations and create a solution tailored to the needs of the security forces.

„In recent years, police and government agencies have chosen to use their cell phones to check the identity of people on the street,” explains the head of marketing at Thales DIS in Spain. Yann Tremeac. The company has adapted its biometric technology to make these controls faster and safer. The system installed on the mobile allows you to verify in a few seconds, for example, that a DNI is real, and it contrasts the information with the sample database and also offers the option of electronic verification with the same wireless technology NFC. You can pay from your mobile. The company, Tremeac highlights, has already started to see what its implementation will look like with Spain and other countries in the sector.

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Technology 'Made in Spain’

At its facilities in Madrid, Thales manufactures 'Made in Spain’ border control devices and kiosks for half the world; From Asia to Latin America, passing through Europe. The first step is to verify the document (passport) and then the computer goes to face capture to confirm identity. A 'live face’ test is also done to ensure that the person is not trying to hide their identity or use any technique to impersonate another person. If this is the first time, you will also need to fill a digital form regarding the reasons for the visit.

Biometric technology is key to the entire process. For example, software developed by Thales allows it to perform fifty different checks on an identity document in a matter of seconds to ensure that it is not a forgery. Progress continues. Every time a new fraudulent document appears, a specific team examines it and integrates it into the detection system. In the case of facial recognition, the biometric algorithms developed by Thales using deep learning and artificial intelligence technologies are particularly difficult to handle in the area near the eyes, a reference for verification.

The process takes more than one and a half minutes and the information is viewed in real time by border control personnel. Thales technology is in service, for example, on the train connecting Paris and London, here in Spain, and at six airports. Now, ANA is going to launch a tender to supply these control posts and devices to another twenty airports, and the Ministry of Home Affairs also wants to implement them at the ports.

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The Biometric Skills Center is also working on other applications based on biometric technology. Among the latter, a system stands out for identifying passengers by face alone, without the need to present an airline ticket.

European EES project

By 2024, the EU wants this verification process based on biometric technology to be operational at Schengen borders for travelers from third countries. The scheme is known as abbreviated EES (Entry Exit System). Manufacturers of the equipment, including Thales Spain, expect competitions to be launched in several countries in the coming months. In any case, Thales clarifies that the passenger information will remain at the company’s disposal, not even the countries itself, which will go directly to the EU database.


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