ICA moving towards other biometric scanning methods

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has started to scan travellers' iris images as an alternate biometric identification.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has started to scan travellers' iris images as an alternate biometric identification. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

We refer to the letters from Mr Ng Chor Chye (Problems with airport's fingerprint scanning, May 24) and Mr T. Jeganathan (Thumbprint scan may be a problem for some seniors, May 31).

We are aware that some travellers encounter problems with fingerprint scanning even though they had not faced any such issues in the past or at other checkpoints.

On average, about 3 per cent of travellers encounter problems when using the automated fingerprint clearance lanes across all our checkpoints.

The reasons for this include fingerprint deterioration or dry fingers at the point of scanning.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's (ICA) system configuration for automated clearance is consistent across all our checkpoints and our officers readily render assistance to travellers who have difficulties.

Travellers can also approach ICA officers to enrol other readable fingerprints to facilitate their immigration clearance.

In Mr Jeganathan, as well as Mr Ng and his family's cases, ICA officers assisted to enrol a new set of fingerprints for them.

We would also like to clarify that we had contacted Mr Jeganathan in February to address his concerns and assured him our system had been updated with his newly enrolled set of fingerprints.

ICA is constantly looking for ways to enhance immigration clearance. For example, we have started to scan travellers' iris images as an alternate biometric identification.

We also recently began a trial for contactless, "breeze-through" automated immigration clearance at Tuas Checkpoint, which leverages iris recognition to clear travellers. Under this new system, Singaporeans will not be required to present their fingerprints nor passports.

Mr Jeganathan said that he had no problems with fingerprint scanning when clearing Malaysia's immigration.

Every country's border security regime is different, and calibrated differently based on various factors, such as its threat assessment and risk threshold.

Singapore imposes very stringent standards and requirements at our borders, to keep our country and citizens safe and secure, and keep out persons who may pose such threats to us.

ICA would like to thank fellow Singaporeans for their understanding and cooperation in helping us ensure a safe and pleasant experience for travellers at our checkpoints.

Patrick Ong

Head, Public & Internal Communications

Corporate Communications Division

Immigration & Checkpoints Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'ICA moving towards other biometric scanning methods'. Print Edition | Subscribe