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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Iris-scan systems to secure Arab states' borders

CAIRO — Arab League states have agreed to introduce a biometric system to protect their borders and also speed security procedures.

Arab border security chiefs have endorsed the procurement and installation of biometric systems at airports and sea ports. The chiefs convened in an Arab League session in Tunisia on July 17 as part of efforts to bolster security coordination.

"It's clear that biometrics would be vital in controlling the flow of terrorists and criminals in our countries," a participant said.

A statement by the Arab security chiefs endorsed the Iris Recognition Immigration System, or IRIS, for border control, Middle East Newsline reported. The statement said the system would enable arrivals to enter any country without examination by an immigration officer.

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"Instead they can walk up to an automated barrier, look into a camera, and if the system recognizes them they can walk through the immigration counter," an Arab official said.

IRIS has so far been deployed at 35 land, sea and air border point across the United Arab Emirates. Officials said the system requires two seconds to identify the image. They said the error rate is 0.5 percent.

Under the recommendation, the biometric system would facilitate the flow of tourists and executives in the Arab world. Officials said frequent visitors would first be eligible to use IRIS.

The Arab security chiefs also agreed to streamline land border points and the exchange of intelligence. They also recommended that one border point per country would be designated for motorists.

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