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SmartGate...a faster way to clear Customs (on trial)

Discussion in 'Visas, Immigration & Customs' started by QF WP, Nov 4, 2004.

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Would you use this advanced recognition system if it meant clearing Customs quicker?

  1. Yes

    100.0%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. QF WP

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    Jun 20, 2002
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    The Platinum QFF's from this Forum will have received an email today as follows - perhaps in time it will be available in BNE, as well as to the other 99% of QFF's :? . But FWIW, it read:

    A smarter way through passport control in Sydney and Melbourne

    * avoid the queues at passport control

    * less than 2 minutes to enrol


    As a Platinum Frequent Flyer, you are probably familiar with the passport checks when arriving in Australia.

    You may also have heard about Australian Customs' SmartGate - an identity verification system that takes just 20 seconds to process a traveller's arrival information.
    Registered Users don't see this and have the option of removing all other advertisements.  Register HERE

    SmartGate has been successfully trialed by Qantas crew since November 2002.

    As part of this ongoing trial, Australian Customs is now inviting Qantas' most frequent flyers to use SmartGate kiosks upon arrival at Sydney and Melbourne international airports.

    How does SmartGate work?

    SmartGate is a fully automated face-recognition system that compares a traveller's face with their stored image when they present their passport at a SmartGate kiosk.

    It will verify with a high degree of accuracy whether the passport belongs to the person presenting it.

    SmartGate is not a response to world events, nor is it a surveillance system; it has been developed simply to streamline arrivals procedures for the ever-growing numbers of international airline passengers.

    See the box at right for how to enrol in the SmartGate trial.

    To find out more about SmartGate, visit Australian Customs

    You'll find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the trial at qantas.com

    If you have any further questions about SmartGate, you may email smartgate@customs.gov.au

    Be one of the first

    You can enrol in this voluntary trial at the First Class Qantas Club lounges in the Sydney and Melbourne international terminals, from November 9.

    Simply take your passport to the specially marked SmartGate enrolment station.

    The process takes just two minutes and you will be ready to use SmartGate within 24 hours.

    You may enrol during the following times:

    Sydney - 9.00am to 11.00am and 3.00pm to 5.00pm, 7 days

    Melbourne - 8.30am to 10.30am and 3.30pm to 5.30pm, 7 days

    These times may vary depending on demand.

    The enrolment period is expected to close on 24 December 2004, but may close earlier, depending on interest.

    The trial is open to Australian passport holders 18 years and over and requires that you be physically able to stand at a SmartGate kiosk to have your face photographed.


    I went through MEL this morning (on my way back from PER), alas before I got this email (as I'm sure I could have changed flights to an Intl domestic sector). Now I am seriously looking to change future SYD or MEL flights to try this out...
     
  2. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    Yes, I probably would use it since the registration process seems fast and painless, and I expect it will become the norm in the future anyway. However, in my experience it is not likely to help me too much as I rarely travel internationally with on carry-on luggage (only done that once that I can remember) and I have always cleared immigration processing before my bags arrive.

    But it will be good to know that if the queues at the normal passport control desk are long, that I am going to get through faster by having registered for this new process.
     


  3. shillard

    shillard Guest

    That's the real draw-card, the ability to waltz through when the place looks like a zoo.

    Agreed, it's very rare that you can find your bags waiting for you on the carousel - even on a busy day. But we can live in hope...
     
  4. alien

    alien Member

    Nov 6, 2002
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    They state its not a surveillance system however by scanning someones face and using recognition software to identify the person coming through a check point I would argue that this is some kind of surveillance.

    They actually contradict themselves on a couple of pages:

    While SmartGate cannot determine someone's identity, it can verify that a person presenting a passport is the owner of that passport, to a high degree of certainty
    http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4421

    with this

    what is smartgate?
    SmartGate is a secure and simple system that verifies a person's identity, using face- recognition technology. Used at the Customs control point in an Australian international airport, SmartGate compares a traveller's face with their stored image when they present their passport. If there is a successful match, immigration and customs checks are made by computer to ensure that the border crossing is legitimate.

    http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4243
     
  5. serfty

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    Nov 16, 2004
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    SmartGate

    Yeah, the same kind of surveillance as is performed when the Customs officer looks at your face :!: :D
     


  6. Alan in CBR

    Alan in CBR Member

    Apr 2, 2004
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    Not really a contradiction - there's a subtle distinction between "verify" and "determine".

    Verify: Scan the person's face, compare it with the image in the database corresponding to the presented passport number, and tell the authorities if they match.
    Determine: Scan the person's face, check the database (or the Big Brother database), and tell the authorities who this person is.
     
  7. NM

    NM
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    Anyone done this yet? I'll be in the SYD F lounge in the right hours for registration on Monday morning so will be looking for the desk.
     
  8. Bob

    Bob Member

    Jun 8, 2004
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    They are right about the first part - registration is painless. Less than 2 minutes. Now I can't wait for my return flight to Oz to try it out. Only problem is that by then there will probably be a lengthy queue of hopeful QF Plats lined up trying to make it work. :roll:
     
  9. NM

    NM
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    And in all the excitement of browsing the bar at the SYD F lounge on Monday, and taking lots of photos from one the best airport vantage points, I completely forgot to seek out the registration desk :oops: . Oh well, my international arrival will be back to BNE, so I could not use it this time anyway :roll: .
     
  10. redrat

    redrat Member

    Apr 26, 2003
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    Hey Guys,
    I used the system flawlessly coming back from AKL last Thursday.
    Have to fly coach these days but that just means a little more time waiting to exit the a/c. Not in the usual rush to get to the front of the customs queue, I just saunter down the nearly empty row to the new recognition booth while fielding questions from some J class businessmen. "How did YOU get this instead of us?" I did the trick with the camera and the gate opened. My luggage even came off the carousel a short time later, proceeded through the customs x-ray machines & then discovered much to my disgust the one flaw in my great scheme - waited 40 minutes for the long-term carpark bus. :(
    It was even more galling to see one bus sail past with the VB people in it.
     
  11. QF WP

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    • avoid the queues at passport control

    • 2 minutes to enrol

    Customs would appreciate your feedback

    Australian Customs recently invited you, as one of Qantas' most frequent flyers, to participate in the trial of SmartGate.

    Due to the strong response from our Platinum Frequent Flyers, Customs is extending the enrolment period until 28 February 2005.

    SmartGate is an identity verification system that takes just 20 seconds to process a traveller's arrival information. It involves a fully automated, face-recognition process that compares a traveller's face with their stored image when they present their passport at a SmartGate kiosk.

    SmartGate is currently exclusive to Qantas crew and Platinum Frequent Flyers.

    See below for how to enrol in the SmartGate trial.

    To find out more about SmartGate, visit Australian Customs

    If you have any questions about SmartGate, you may
    email smartgate@customs.gov.au

    Be one of the first

    To enrol in this voluntary trial, just take your passport and Platinum membership card to the Customs client services offices on the arrival level at Sydney or Melbourne international airports.

    The process takes just two minutes and you will be ready to use SmartGate within 24 hours.

    You may enrol during the following times:
    Sydney - 6.00am to 10.00pm, 7 days
    Melbourne - 6.00am to 6.00pm, 7 days

    The enrolment period will close on 28 February 2005.

    The trial is open to Australian passport holders 18 years and over and requires that you be physically able to stand at a SmartGate kiosk to have your face photographed.
     
  12. alien

    alien Member

    Nov 6, 2002
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    Does this discount people in wheelchairs? Sounds like it does lol not that its a laughing matter. I think just wrong choice of wording.
     
  13. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    Maybe they will tie in with the APEC Business Travellers Card which has similar facilities in use in Asia
     
  14. Kiwi Flyer

    Kiwi Flyer Senior Member

    Sep 24, 2004
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    Not for NZers :(
     
  15. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    Anyone know if you *have* to be a WP to get on the trial?

    Might try my luck next time I'm in either Syd or Mlb as a lowly PS QP...

    Where is the Customs "Client Service offices" Airside, or past customs?
     
  16. NM

    NM
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    The invitation to join the trial that was sent to WP's sated that the sign-up desk was inside the F lounges. So that implies that it is only available to people who have F lounge access. I doubt they would reject someone who was in the F lounge by virtue of having an F ticket, being a guest, or being a OneWorld Emerald in a non-QF program, so long as you meet the major criteria of being an Australian passport holder.

    I am not sure if there are other places you can apply for the process outside the Qantas First Class lounge.
     
  17. ioki

    ioki Member

    Apr 6, 2004
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    i just went checked in on my way to auckland and asked the customs agent about smart gate. he mentioned i should enquire in Qantas Club/Lounge and so i did, was told processing is now down on arrival just past passport control. as i am only a Qantas Gold so i didn't get the invite but will try my luck on my way back this friday evening from wellington
     
  18. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    Well I managed to get on the trial!

    Looks like you need to be travelling First Class, WP or CL. See http://www.qantas.com.au/fflyer/dyn/newsOffers/other/2004/oct/smartGate for the full details.

    I think QF FF membership is needed at least as that is probably used to cross reference you back to a phone number and address for their survey/stat records.

    Worth a try to ask if you want to get on the trial, but unless you're a WP, CL or travelling on F don't expect to get onto it easily I think...

    Can't wait to try it out!

    Does anyone know when the trial is due to end (if at all?)
     
  19. QF WP

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    Well, from my post above:

     
  20. ioki

    ioki Member

    Apr 6, 2004
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    registration successful on return trip from auckland and i asked how wide is the net for registration and the custom agent replied with, if the person is in a frequent flyer program, that person will be accepted for smartgate enrollment.

    so now, both my wife (enrolled her on departure yesterday morning) and i are registered and will utilise the process when we pass through immigration on our way back from auckland in 2 friday's time!

    looking forward to avoiding the queue.
     
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