ePassport ‘spoofing’ risks flagged up in UK watchdog report


The UK Home Office has been alerted to the fact that air passenger passed through an electronic border gate using her cousin’s passport, a UK watchdog report revealed.

Inspectors witnessed the apparently unintentional “spoofing” during observations at Stansted Airport in Essex.

The report said: “A passenger managed to gain entry via an e-Passport gate using her cousin’s passport.

“However, when the cousin tried to use the first passenger’s passport she was rejected, twice, at different gates.

“At this point, the first passenger returned to the gates to hand the correct passport to her cousin.”

Conservative MP Tim Loughton, a member of the Commons Home Affairs committee, said: “Hopefully this was a one-off as considerable investment has gone into making these e-passport gates foolproof and they are being rolled out as standard, not just in the UK, but at ports of entry across Europe especially.

“It is crucial that immigration authorities fully investigate how this happened and give reassurances that there is no more significant fault that would undermine confidence in unmanned border control technology.”

The Home Office said ePassport gates use facial recognition technology to provide identity and security checks “in a matter of seconds” and have been used by more than 150 million passengers since they came into service.

A spokeswoman said: “A Border Force officer is always on hand to monitor use of the ePassport gates and to intervene if there is any suspicious activity, as was the case in this instance.

“Border Force carries out regular checks to ensure the performance of the technology meets our security needs.”

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