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Naked Science: My Face, My Passport

New US visa regulations will soon require the use of biometric passports with an embedded electronic chip holding vital biological data. The data will include a log of up to 1,800 special characteristics of your face which can be compared electronically against those of everyone else held in an international database.

These measures are hoped to counter the growing threat of terrorism. Yet how reliable are these methods in identifying faces? Some evidence suggests that human eyesight is a more reliable method. What would happen if someone was falsely identified? Is the development of this technology an economically efficient process? The public can join a panel of experts to discuss the future of facial recognition in international travel.

Passports will soon be embedded with biological information to help identify the holder. E-passports will be able to store 1800 facial features, but how reliable is the face-recognition technology behind this scheme? Will this new recognition technology prevent terrorist attacks and identity theft? Join a panel of experts to discuss e-passports for the jet set.

It seems that every day more publicity is given to the potential use of faces in security applications, law enforcement and civil arenas. From 26 October this year machine-readable biometric passports will be required for travel to the USA with a visa. You'll still need a photograph from a booth for these passports, but you'll also have a digital image of your face embedded into it. Mathematical measurements from this image will be compared to measurements stored on a central database to ensure you are who you claim to be and that you're not a known fraudster.

How reliable are these methods in identifying and distinguishing faces? Some evidence suggests we would be better off sticking to tried-and-tested human eyesight. How likely is it that someone would be falsely identified and what would happen to him or her? Could this technology counter the growing threat of terrorism? Is this technology money well spent? Pose these questions and more to top experts including a representative from the government's Passport Service and the Chairman of the International Association of Biometrics.


Dr Gus Hosein | talks | www
Walter Leschenko | talks | www
Clive Reedman | talks | www
Angela Sasse | talks | www


Date and Time:

19 October 2004 at 7:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Dana Centre
165 Queen's Gate
+44 20 79 42 40 40
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Organised by:

Science Museum
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Available from:

Tickets are FREE but must be pre-booked on: 020 7942 4040 or tickets@danacentre.org.uk

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