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City airport puts finger on security technology

Bill Goodwin
London's City Airport will become the first airport in the UK to use electronic fingerprint scanning to restrict access to sensitive areas to authorised staff.

The airport is investing £400,000 in the system which could offer frequent travellers a fast-track through security and check-in within a few years.

The system, developed and supplied by Daon, goes beyond government security regulations and will make London City the most secure airport in the country, its managing director, Richard Gooding said this week.

The system will initially be used to verify the identities of the airport's 1,600 staff when they enter its main administration building or pass through one of five control points to access its restricted areas. But eventually the technology could be extended to passengers.

"We are starting with something very simple. Our vision is to take this further, speeding customers through the airport and passport check-in," Gooding said.

The fingerprint system will be integrated into existing security controls using chipped photocards which are electronically authenticated. Daon will begin installation in the administration building next month, where the system will be tested by 200 staff before being rolled out across the rest of the airport by Easter 2003.

The system will be managed by Daon's Daonengine on IBM servers, running IBM Websphere and DB2, with files of encrypted fingerprints being stored locally at each reader. Daon said the technology has a false acceptance rate of just one in 100,000 and a false rejection rate of 1%.

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