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NEWS Last modified on June 24, 2014

Accenture survey finds support for use of biometrics

Research carried out by Accenture has found there is support for the use of biometrics to facilitate travel and secure borders.

The survey also shows that the majority of people are willing to share biometric details to help increase border security, in return for personal benefits such as faster processing times at borders and more convenient travel.

However, it also found people want to know what security measures are in place to protect their biometric information and understand what these are prior to submitting their details.

Accenture surveyed 3,001 residents in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and US from April 14-28, 2014, via an online quantitative survey.

The research was fielded by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) to capture general attitudes toward biometrics, as they could one day be applied for border control and travel. 

The majority surveyed (89%) say they are willing to share their biometric details – the unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used to verify identities and automate recognition when traveling across international borders.

However, 69% of the 3,000 survey respondents say they have not shared any biometric information to date, but say they believe biometrics can play a significant role in facilitating faster and more secure travel while protecting borders.

When asked about the specific benefits of sharing biometrics more than half (62%) of those surveyed are willing to share biometric information to make their country’s borders more secure, speed up customs and border control processing (58%) and make travel more convenient (56%).

Mark Crego, who leads Accenture’s global border and identity services business, explains: “The survey findings show strong support from citizens for the greater use of biometrics to secure national borders, enable more convenient travel and facilitate faster processing through customs and border control.

“The majority of citizens are willing to share biometric details to help increase border security and, at the same time, reap benefits such as faster processing times at borders and more convenient travel.”



Smart Borders

More than half (58%) of those surveyed said they would be likely to share their biometric details to enable participation in registered traveller programmes (RTP’s) that allow pre-registered passengers to have faster, easier processing through customs and border control.

The survey also found nearly three-fourths (71%) of citizen support the use of biometrics to verify the identities of all persons crossing borders (residents and visitors) and a similar number (73%) believe that using biometrics to verify the identity of everyone crossing the border would make countries more secure.

Crego adds: “The strong support by citizens for technologies that can improve travel and secure borders demonstrates how important it is for border management agencies to continue adopting new tools that meet the demands of citizens and better manage the transit of people across borders.

“Increasing the use of biometrics and introducing registered traveler programs can make traveling faster, safer and more convenient and strengthen both border and national security through improved intelligence gathering.”

Automated Border Clearance (e-gates)

The Acccenture survey also asked about the use of automated border clearance solutions, such as e-gates at airports and border crossings, and found less than one-fourth (23%) of respondents say they had used an e-gate.

However, of those who have used an e-gate, the majority (80%) said they would do so again if they had the option, while 85% of e-gate users found them faster than manual border clearance checkpoints managed by a border patrol officer.

Despite citizens’ support for biometrics and the greater use of technology to facilitate travel, more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) say that prior to deciding to share their biometric information, they would want to know what security measures were in place to protect the data, and 67% would want to know how their personal information is being used.



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