By Chuck Taylor

Australia plans to replace physical passports with face recognition and fingerprint scanning by 2020.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection recently announced the new project, which would also make in-person immigration officers obsolete. Instead of having their passports scanned by an employee at an immigration desk, travelers would simply pass through electronic stations that would use facial and fingerprint readings to verify their identities. The Australian government expects to process 90 percent of travelers using this kind of technology by the year 2020.

Nations around the world are starting to give high-tech upgrades to their passports. Many countries, including Australia, currently use bio-metric passports with embedded computer chips that contain facial, fingerprint, iris, or other identifying information. Now Australia is looking to do away with paper passports altogether.

The details on exactly how the system will function are still a little hazy, but will be made clear soon enough: Officials plan to test a pilot version at Canberra Airport this July before coming to the Sydney and Melbourne airports in November. The government hopes to have the technology in place in airports around the country by March 2019.

And once one country adopts these new standards, we can expect other nations around the world to follow suit.


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