Quirks & Quarks

Coming soon to Canadian airports: facial recognition

What kind of future do the rise of biometrics and machine learning herald?
Travellers will soon be subjected to facial recognition technology at major Canadian airports. (Mike Hillman/CBC)

The Canadian Border Services Agency is going to start to use facial recognition technology this coming spring. It will be installing self-serve kiosks in major Canadian airports, starting with the Ottawa International Airport. Other airports across the country will follow through to 2018. 

The CBSA says it's a bid to improve security and speed. The exact details of how this futuristic technology will work have yet to be revealed, but privacy advocates are concerned. 

Dr. Marina Gavrilova, professor in the Department of Computer Science, and Director of the Biometric Technologies Lab at the University of Calgary, sheds a bit of light on how the technology works, and some of the potential implications.