The Future of Biometric Security: Touchless Fingerprinting and the UK Home Office

Keith Wojciech
Keith Wojciech
January 6, 2023 • 3 min read
Touchless Fingerprints

If you have enrolled in TSA PreCheck or traveled to another country in the past few years, you’ve had your fingerprints and facial image (the biometric markers associated with your identity) captured.

This is because the United States, and countries around the world, maintain large biometric databases to keep track of travelers for identity verification and other security purposes in the name of protecting their borders.

Up to this point, fingerprints have been captured using “livescan” devices: purpose-built, expensive, and often cumbersome hardware devices designed to capture high-quality, machine-readable images of your fingerprints.

Now, our world is going touchless, accelerated, in part, by the pandemic. With today’s consumers looking for self-enrollment capabilities, cutting-edge technologies like Telos’ ONYX® touchless fingerprinting are paving the way for the future of biometrics to meet demands that traditional touch-based technologies cannot.

UK Home Office Biometric Self-Enrollment Feasibility Trials (BSEFT)

To assess the maturity of the remote self-enrollment industry’s capabilities, the UK Home Office ran Phase 1 of their Biometric Self-Enrollment Feasibility Trials from November to December 2021.

As part of these trials, a number of industry suppliers provided smartphone applications and self-service kiosks that capture a person’s face and fingerprint biometrics. To effectively evaluate these solutions, participants across a range of demographics were recruited, along with a specialist biometric testing laboratory.

The UK Home Office’s goal is to have all visitors and migrants provide their biometric facial images and fingerprints under a single global immigration system ahead of travel to the UK, utilizing remote self-enrollment for those who are not required to apply for a visa as part of an ecosystem of enrollment options.

In October, the UK Home Office selected Telos to take part in Phase 2 of the trials, which will focus on fingerprint capture capabilities, with key considerations for user experience and assessing, and will include a broader, more representative demographic of participants.  It will begin with an initial benchmarking phase in late 2022, and will follow with full trials in 2023. Further details to be confirmed. 

Our participation in these advanced trials encapsulates effective collaborative engagement between government and industry.

The Future of Mobile Biometric Security

Trials, like the UK Home Office’s, will lead to an evolution in the processes and technologies used by governments worldwide to manage the identities of the millions of people that travel their borders every year. Recognizing and adopting technology, like ONYX, that is specifically designed for these types of use cases can make the entire capture and management process as easy, accurate, and touchless as possible.

Here in the near future, when you have to process through immigration or you want to apply for TSA PreCheck, you’ll be able to do it on your phone – all from the comfort of your airplane seat, or better yet, your couch at home.

Keith Wojciech
Keith Wojciech
Director of Identity Services
Keith has 20 years of experience managing and delivering IT solutions for federal and commercial customers.
Read full bio

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Email Address
Select a Country

Although we may use your information for targeted marketing and advertising, as described in the Privacy Policy, we will never sell your information to any third party.