Video analytics and biometrics screening technology to be expanded to more checkpoints: ICA

The BioScreen-Multi Modal Biometric Screening System has been trialled in stages at immigration counters, including at Woodlands Checkpoint. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - More checkpoints here will soon be able to use video analytics and screening technology to respectively identify suspicious objects and individuals and verify travellers' identities through their fingerprints, faces or eyes for immigration purposes.

A facial-recognition technology that identifies people of interest as well as a biometrics screening technology that identifies travellers via fingerprint, facial and iris scans, are two technology initiatives that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) plans to roll out to more checkpoints.

This follows trials of both technology at selected checkpoints, said the ICA at a media event on Monday (Nov 12) to showcase the two technology.

Since the Automated Biometrics and Behavioural Screening Suite (ABBSS) - a customised video analytics system - was introduced at the Woodlands Checkpoint in 2012, foreigners who were wanted for offences such as overstaying have been detected by the system, said the ICA.

These people of interest were detected by cameras situated around the checkpoints, which automatically highlighted them to officers at a command centre.

Apart from static cameras situated within the checkpoints, the ICA has introduced smaller, mobile versions of cameras that can be mounted on tripods or worn by patrol officers on the ground since July last year.

Alerts from these are then sent to mobile devices held by officers on the ground, who can immediately act on the information.

"More than 280,000 travellers pass through Woodlands Checkpoints every day, and with this new facial recognition technology , we will be able to process large volumes of passengers more efficiently and securely,"said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lian Lee Siong, second deputy director of ICA's operations division.

"This would help to ensure security, and keep out people on the watch list, particularly during high key events like the ASEAN summit."

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The ICA said it is in the process of extending the ABBSS capabilities and concept of operations to other checkpoints. It is also planning to enhance the ABBSS cameras with video analytics capabilities to increase the "situational awareness" of traveller activities within the checkpoints.

Also on trial at the Woodlands Checkpoint, is the BioScreen-Multi Modal Biometric Screening System (MMBS), which has been trialled in stages at immigration counters, with the fingerprint scans in place since April 2016.

The facial and iris scans were trialled from July this year, complementing the fingerprint system for immigration clearance.

These new scans are especially useful for travellers who cannot be identified easily through their fingerprints, such as when they have scars on their fingers, or have naturally wet or dry fingers, the ICA said.

This system would enable the ICA to build a robust biometrics database of travellers that could be used in the event of a security incident, and screen incoming and outgoing travellers more efficiently and accurately.

The system, which was also introduced to Tuas Checkpoint and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, is expected to be introduced progressively at all checkpoints from next April, said the ICA.

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