For any twentysomething embarking on their first big overseas trip, the chance to fill your little blue book with a paper-and-ink souvenir is one of life's smallest pleasures. But scoring a new stamp on your passport could soon become a thing of the past, especially if the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has their way. The federal department are looking to unroll a contactless system for processing travellers, with the aim goal of automating 90% of air travel processing by 2020.
Saying goodbye to SmartGates, incoming passenger cards (which we never liked anyway) and poker-faced customs officials sitting at desks, travellers will instead be processed using biometric recognition such as scanning eyes, faces and/or fingerprints. "I think it could be a world first," John Coyne, head of border security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute told smh.com.au. Although it's an ambitious project, he says he wants international passenger to be able to "literally just walk out like at a domestic airport".
While there's no word on whether we still have to carry our passports with us when travelling, a system without them has one upside: the end of ugly passport photos. Now that's something worth celebrating.