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Iris recognition at five UK airports

The government plans to roll out an iris recognition system to five UK airports to verify the identities of selected overseas...

The government plans to roll out an iris recognition system to five UK airports to verify the identities of selected overseas travellers by 2005.

The Home Office has signed a deal with Sagem SA to provide a biometric system, following a trial at Heathrow. The Home Office said it would improve security and speed up access to the UK for those using the system at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Birmingham.

Immigration minister Des Brown said the system was one of several new security technologies introduced by the Home Office. "We are developing biometric technology to further protect our borders, rolling out its use in visas, passports and eventually ID cards," he said.

The Immigration Service will invite selected foreign nationals to use the system, with preference given to those who live permanently in the UK, regular travellers and work permit holders. It is hoped that one million people will be registered on the system within five years.

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