EUROPE: Eurostar has begun live trials of the SmartCheck biometric face authentication system, enabling passengers boarding at London St Pancras International to complete secure ticket verification and UK exit checks on their mobile devices before travel.
Business Premier and Carte Blanche ticket holders are able to scan their identity documentation using a mobile phone before arriving at the station, and then complete a brief biometric face scan to verify that they are the genuine holder of the document.
Verification uses iProov’s Genuine Presence Assurance technology, with a multi-dimensional biometric face scan which ‘combines light, time and space’ to verify that a remote user is the right person, a real person and that they are authenticating in real time. It can be used on any phone, tablet, or computer with a front-facing camera. The authentication is then linked to the passenger’s e-ticket.
When the departing passenger gets to St Pancras station, they proceed through a dedicated SmartCheck lane, where a face scan at the ticket gate verifies that they have completed the ticket check, with no sharing of paper or electronic tickets needed.
A second face scan at the UK exit check allows Eurostar to verify that the passenger has completed their passport information, again replacing the need to hand over documentation.
Personal data is processed in compliance with GDPR legislation, using full passenger consent; it is not shared with any party outside the trial and is deleted within 6 h of the user travelling.
The trial being undertaken by iProve, Eurostar and WorldReach Software forms part of the First of a Kind 2020 competition run by Innovate UK with funding from the Department for Transport.
The trial currently involves a limited number of invited passengers, and is focused on the check-in and exit control processes operated by Eurostar at St Pancras. It does not cover the UK or Schengen area entry controls.
‘The days of rooting around in your bag for your passport or hoping that your phone battery doesn’t run out before you show your e-ticket at the gate are over’, said iProov founder Andrew Bud when the trial went live on December 6. ‘It’s effortless and convenient, while also delivering the reassurance and security that travellers expect.’