Ministry eyeing biometric system

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - Page 4

The Ministry of the Interior announced yesterday that it would begin using a biometric identification system at border control points as soon as December to better maintain border security.

“The Executive Yuan has approved the ministry’s plan to use biometric identification technology at border control points and we will start collecting biometric information from visiting foreigners as well as from Taiwanese with no household registration information this year,” Deputy Minister of the Interior Hsiao Chia-chi (蕭家淇) told a press conference.

“This will better maintain border security and the safety of the public,” he added.

Hsiao said the ministry has spent NT$180 million (US$6 million) developing the system, and that it plans to first use it at Kaohsiung International Airport in December.

“If everything works well, we will then set up the system at entry points in airports and harbors across the nation,” Hsiao added.

He explained that, at entry, a foreigner or a Taiwanese without a household registration would be required to provide fingerprints and have his or her facial features recorded. When the visitor leaves, the system would automatically check that it is the same person.

“Plastic surgery can change the way a person looks, but it cannot change biological features, such as the distance between the two pupils,” he said. “If the system fails to identify the person by comparing facial features, we would then check their fingerprints.”

Meanwhile, Hsiao said that the ministry has sent draft amendments to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法) that would relax some immigration restrictions to the legislature for review.

“If passed [by the legislature], white-collar foreign workers with Alien Permanent Resident Certificates would be allowed to leave the country for up to five years before their certificate becomes void,” he said.