Facial recognition, biometrics tech at more checkpoints: ICA

Above: An ICA patrol officer with his mobile device which would alert him when his mobile camera, worn on his shirt, detects a person of interest. Left: ICA officers demonstrating the use of the BioScreen Multi-Modal Biometric Screening System, which
ICA officers demonstrating the use of the BioScreen Multi-Modal Biometric Screening System, which has three modes of identification: Fingerprint, facial and iris scans.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Above: An ICA patrol officer with his mobile device which would alert him when his mobile camera, worn on his shirt, detects a person of interest. Left: ICA officers demonstrating the use of the BioScreen Multi-Modal Biometric Screening System, which
Above: An ICA patrol officer with his mobile device which would alert him when his mobile camera, worn on his shirt, detects a person of interest. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Video analytics, fingerprint, facial and iris scans to be used

More checkpoints here will soon be able to use video analytics and screening technology to identify suspicious objects and individuals and to verify the identities of travellers through their fingerprints, faces or eyes.

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 of the initiatives the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) plans to roll out at all checkpoints. This follows trials of both technologies at selected checkpoints, said the ICA at a media event yesterday.

Since the Automated Biometrics and Behavioural Screening Suite (ABBSS) - a customised video analytics system - was introduced at the Woodlands Checkpoint in 2012, foreigners wanted for offences such as overstaying have been detected by the system, said the ICA. They were detected by cameras situated around the checkpoint, which automatically highlighted them to officers at a command centre.

Apart from static cameras situated within the checkpoint, 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 cameras 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 Checkpoint 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 the 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."

 

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.

PROCESSING LARGE VOLUMES

More than 280,000 travellers pass through Woodlands Checkpoint every day, and with this new facial-recognition technology, we will be able to process large volumes of passengers more efficiently and securely.

DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER LIAN LEE SIONG, second deputy director of the ICA's operations division, on the initiatives being rolled out at all checkpoints.

Also on trial at the Woodlands Checkpoint is the BioScreen Multi-Modal Biometrics Screening System, 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 at the Tuas Checkpoint and the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, is expected to be introduced progressively at all other checkpoints from next April, said the ICA.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2018, with the headline 'Facial recognition, biometrics tech at more checkpoints: ICA'. Print Edition | Subscribe