Office of the Head of the Border Force
Ref: TO 128201
26 June 2009
Dear Mr. Moss,
Thank you for your letter of 16 April concerning the effectiveness of facial recognition technology which the UK Border Agency [UKBA] is currently using at Stansted and
UKBA commenced testing our Automated Clearance System (ACS) at
All passengers using ACS undergo the same checks against government databases, as they would if proceeding via the conventional manual control. The system is monitored by UKBA officers, who will examine any passengers rejected by the gate, as well as carrying out random manual checks.
You are already aware, through your previous correspondence with the Home Office Scientific Development Branch, of the results of the Face Recognition Vendor Test 2006. The testís findings demonstrated considerable improvement in this field, and confirmed that the technology could be applied successfully in a one-to-one (verification) mode. Contrary to unsubstantiated reports in the Telegraph, the technology has also been robustly tested against abuse by spoofing, tailgating and impostors.
ACS is just one strand of UKBAís work to balance maintaining border security with the facilitation of legitimate trade and travel. We recognise that the vast majority of the travelling public are legitimate, law-abiding passengers and believe that the gates will deliver an improved service to our customers whilst allowing us to deploy our staff intelligently to areas of greater risk.
your comment about Interpol, the Prime Minister announced on 25 July 2007
our intention to connect the
You also raised concerns about UKBA policies linked to foreign students and the issue of bogus colleges. International students directly contribute £2.5 billion to the
Both institutions and the international students they bring will continue to be monitored to ensure that they comply with the rules. The tightened controls have resulted in a 2,400 cut in the number of institutions bringing international students to the