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Australia gets mobile boarding passes as part of 'seamless travel' automation play


The federal government has announced the next phase of its airport automation plan, with international travellers departing Australia now able to check-in via smartphone. The initiative, available from Monday, will see airlines issue electronic boarding passes for international flights. Travellers using the digital option won't need to visit the check-in desk to show their passport, and they will be able to show their boarding pass on a mobile device instead of using a paper boarding pass, still following the normal border clearance path at the airport. "Last financial year more than 21.4 million travellers were cleared through the border departing Australian international airports. This number will continue to rise," Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said in a statement.

Facial recognition tech allows passengers to clear airport security in Shanghai


Passengers checking into flights at Shanghai's Hongqiao International Airport can now use their face to prove their identity thanks to the rollout of facial recognition technology. The airport this week unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance, and boarding powered by facial recognition technology. While many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed up security checks, Shanghai's system is being billed as the first to be fully automated. "It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process," said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao Airport. Currently, only Chinese identity cardholders can use the technology.

University of WA develops 'more accurate' 3D facial recognition model


University of Western Australia researchers have designed a new system for large-scale 3D facial recognition that addresses the shortcomings of 2D facial recognition. The team from the university's UWA Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering created the "FR3DNet" model, which has analysed 3.1 million 3D scans of more than 100,000 people. According to findings published in Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, the team trained FR3DNet, which is currently available for research purposes, to learn the identities of a dataset of "known" persons and match a face to one of those identities. Unlike 2D facial recognition of photographs commonly used in surveillance, 3D models can address changes in facial texture, expression, and poses, the research said. "Our research shows that recognition performance on 3D scans is better and more robust," said the model's creator, Dr Syed Zulqarnain Gilani.

Border Force confirms IT outage affecting Australia's international airports


Passengers trying to enter or leave Australia on Monday morning have been delayed following an IT outage experienced by the Australian Border Force (ABF). The outage is affecting Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane international airports. A spokesperson for the ABF told ZDNet the government entity is working to resolve the issue that is creating delays in processing both inbound and outbound passengers. "The Australian Border Force is working with the Department of Home Affairs to resolve an IT systems outage impacting inbound and outbound passenger processing at international airports," the spokesperson said. "Additional ABF staff have been deployed to process passengers and to minimise delays."

Victorian government pushes back on in-classroom surveillance


The Australian government in August last year kicked off a trial that saw surveillance cameras placed in classrooms to monitor if students were in attendance. The now-completed trial took place in a few private schools in the state, and the funding was accounted for at a federal level. According to the Digital Rights Watch -- a charity aimed at educating on and upholding the digital rights of Australians -- the next phase of the trial was to roll out the program to state-run schools. The initiative would involve the placement of cameras within classrooms that scan the faces of students and then compare the images against photos kept on file. Any instances of missing students would then be reported.