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BA Calls on Border Force to cut immigration delays

BA Calls on Border Force to cut immigration delays

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Old Aug 25, 17, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by Kumulani View Post
Why don't they just do facial recognition? Seems to work pretty well with the SmartGates in Australia and New Zealand.
Originally Posted by deeruck View Post
Or just open up the e-gates to more passports, and without the 4 prior visit requirement.
Well, there is a balance here - the e-gates are available to those whom the UK Government believes is low-risk. Australia certainly takes the same view, because their automated gates are only open to passport holders from limited countries.

Simply opening the e-gates up to all US citizens for example, irrespective of the number of visits and without further checks, would likely not stack up in security terms - and, indeed, the reciprocal arrangement of Global Entry doesn't just allow any UK citizen to apply because a fee, criminal records check and face-to-face interview are required.

Last edited by NWIFlyer; Aug 25, 17 at 9:32 am
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Old Aug 25, 17, 9:08 am
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Interesting quote from the BBC article


Border Force and British Airways have an agreement to close the Terminal 5 ePassport gates at 11pm every evening. In recent months, Border Force has kept the gates open beyond 11pm - often to accommodate passengers arriving on delayed British Airways flights.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 9:31 am
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USCBP, for its many failings, has done a decent job over the past couple of years in deploying technology that has significantly reduced queues at their ports of entry. This technology is used not only by returning US citizens, but visitors to the United States as well. It also frees up officers to focus on higher risk visitors.

I've seen much less from UKBF - the non-EU lines at LHR can be dire.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 10:14 am
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Yes, the lines for non EU visitors can often be very long at T5, but I have always found the officers to be polite and courteous when you finally get to them. Unlike the USA, when a number of them seem to enjoy being on a power trip and making life difficult just because they can.

As a gay couple the treatment between the UK and US agents is night and day, and partly because of the US border agents treatment of us we have boycotted any travel or spending on US goods and services. I certainly have no intentions of going back to the USA, but I do get fair treatment in the UK and have spent quite a bit of my tourist dollars/pounds there over the last decade.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 10:20 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
Did you read the thread?

The issue is that late at night the gates - that use facial recognition - are closed!
The British e-gates do not have facial recognition, which is the main reason you need so many physical border force officers to control them.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by ahmetdouas View Post
Border Force Agents should work directly for the government, just like most countries, where essentially passport control agents are the equivalent of Border Police!
I think we are now in an age when they dont need to work for the government. A private company can handle their work as easily as them.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 11:31 am
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I did laugh at this press release. Yes waiting a further hour at immigration having just spent x hours in one of our dirty aeroplanes without a meal or wifi. Glasshouses and all that.

In all seriousness the process is pretty poor, closed egates when the are massive queues of tired people is never good and all too often occurrence at LHR. Crikey even the US have upped their game, last 3 times gone through in less than 10 mins, just lucky maybe. LAX, SEA & YYZ.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 11:37 am
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Originally Posted by Takiteasy View Post
The British e-gates do not have facial recognition, which is the main reason you need so many physical border force officers to control them.
What method of identity verification do they use?
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Old Aug 25, 17, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by rossmacd View Post
As I've said before, I don't think there is actually a limit to the rubbish this poster shares with BAFT.
A tad unfair, I suspect he's quite young.

Although not very practical I do understand why he said it. Although they don't work at EZE immigration the police do the passenger screening checks at the airports. Mind you there does seem to be thousands of them out in the streets standing about doing nothing so I'm not surprised they try and make use of them.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by Takiteasy View Post
The British e-gates do not have facial recognition, which is the main reason you need so many physical border force officers to control them.
This charge keeps coming up - e.g. there is no automation, someone is manually approving every person - I'll keep refuting it.

The people monitoring the gates are the guys positioned on the back wall as you walk out having gone through the gates.

I frequently see them leaning back arms folded.

So in those cases - how are the gates working?

In fact - next time you go through - take 10 seconds as you walk past them and watch them. I bet none of them hit a single key in the time you watch.

Do you think they've installed foot controls? Or perhaps thought control?

Just because you put manual checks on an automated system doesn't mean it's not automated.
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Old Aug 25, 17, 11:47 am
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Some time last year I arrived to a fairly chaotic E-gate area at T5 with only one third of machines operational. I spoke to a Border Force agent and he alleged that BA would not pay for more to be open - more BF staff required to monitor the increased flow, he suggested.

Don't have a second source confirmation of this. Perhaps C-W-S may know something??
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Old Aug 25, 17, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Takiteasy View Post
The British e-gates do not have facial recognition, which is the main reason you need so many physical border force officers to control them.
What would even be the point of e-gates in that case?
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Old Aug 25, 17, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by deeruck View Post
What method of identity verification do they use?
Originally Posted by TFKEF View Post
What would even be the point of e-gates in that case?
The e-gates do checks on several databases, including comparing the data physically on the chip, on the barcode, on the data page, and with the central records associated with that passport number. The data needs to match, the passport not reported lost/stolen and a few other checks. The chip, passport and central records all have facial identification data, and there are several cameras in the e-gate booth. These images appear on the control officers' screens before the passport is presented, and the officer does a quick scan that all 4 components match correctly. This is why tented passports don't work, and it's important to press the photo down on the patten without vibration. There is a biometric set of data that could be used, however in earlier trials it was found that either you made it very secure (e.g. iris shape and size) but easy to get a high failure rate so not making it any faster for officer or passenger; alternatively you make it very a loose pattern match, and then husbands get through on their wife's image. Overall in terms of speed, a quick facial scan is the most efficient, which also means that if a photo of someone of particular interest comes on screen, maybe their name isn't known, the officer can intercept them. The slow but most crucial bit is the database checks, which have to happen under any system, the photo recognition is barely a second per passport holder.

Originally Posted by Mapman View Post
Some time last year I arrived to a fairly chaotic E-gate area at T5 with only one third of machines operational. I spoke to a Border Force agent and he alleged that BA would not pay for more to be open - more BF staff required to monitor the increased flow, he suggested.

Don't have a second source confirmation of this. Perhaps C-W-S may know something??
I'm afraid I don't know the details. You are correct that there is apparently a 3 way agreement between UKBF, HAL and BA at T5 but I can only speculate as to its contents. I suspect the recent additional e-gates for UK Border and CTA Connections were part funded by BA and HAL, however reading between the lines it's not the e-gates that BA are concerned about - there aren't that many flights coming in at 23:00 hrs - it's the manual queues that are annoying BA.
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Last edited by corporate-wage-slave; Aug 25, 17 at 12:32 pm
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Old Aug 25, 17, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
The e-gates do checks on several databases, including comparing the data physically on the chip, on the barcode, on the data page, and with the central records associated with that passport number. The data needs to match, the passport not reported lost/stolen and a few other checks. The chip, passport and central records all have facial identification data, and there are several cameras in the e-gate booth. These images appear on the control officers' screens before the passport is presented, and the officer does a quick scan that all 4 components match correctly.
Interesting post. Not quite sure I follow one aspect of it though.

Which images appear on the control officer's screen before the passport is presented? Surely just an image of the individual within the gate, and nothing else, until the passport is presented?
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Old Aug 25, 17, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
Did you read the thread?

The issue is that late at night the gates - that use facial recognition - are closed!
Sorry if my wording was confusing - when I said "facial recognition" I meant automatic, biometric facial recognition. The UK gates don't currently have that.

Originally Posted by MPH1980 View Post
I frequently see them leaning back arms folded.

So in those cases - how are the gates working?
It could be that they don't need to take action unless the photo doesn't match. The way CWS describes the procedure, that's what it sounds like to me.

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
There is a biometric set of data that could be used, however in earlier trials it was found that either you made it very secure (e.g. iris shape and size) but easy to get a high failure rate so not making it any faster for officer or passenger; alternatively you make it very a loose pattern match, and then husbands get through on their wife's image.
The Australia/New Zealand SmartGates seem to be very reliable. They do say to take off hats/glasses but they don't have many issues with weight gain/loss or hair changes. I don't know much about the underlying technology but it's clearly secure enough to meet the standards of those countries.

Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Overall in terms of speed, a quick facial scan is the most efficient, which also means that if a photo of someone of particular interest comes on screen, maybe their name isn't known, the officer can intercept them. The slow but most crucial bit is the database checks, which have to happen under any system, the photo recognition is barely a second per passport holder.
I understand that the facial check itself is very quick to do, but it seems to limit the number of gates that are open at one time. If it were automated as in other countries, maybe they'd be able to consistently open all the gates instead of just a fraction of them. Plus the gate hours would no longer have to be limited.

Last edited by Kumulani; Aug 25, 17 at 1:30 pm
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