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When Augmented Security Goes Pear Shaped

It has been revealed that a biometric pattern recognition system in use at Japan's airports has been bypassed for an unknown amount of time, effectively rendering it worthless, and raising questions about the reliance on technology as a 'watertight' security measure.

A South Korean woman barred from entering Japan last year passed through its immigration screening system by using tape on her fingers to fool the biometric fingerprint reading system used to keep deported individuals out of the country.

Japan spent more than four billion yen (44 million dollars) to install the system in 30 airports in 2007 to improve security and prevent terrorists from entering into Japan.

The system works by reading the index fingerprints of visitors and instantly cross-checks them with a database of international fugitives and foreigners with deportation records, according to Kyodo News.

If the fingerprints are simply erased by a skin graft, this is detectable, if the fingers are covered with selotape or bandages this is again detectable. However, no-one thought of the possibility of tape imprinted with false fingerprints.

As it stands, the Japanese authorities have no idea how many deported or undesired individuals have slipped back into the country, whilst the security system has been waving the all-clear.


SKorean fools finger printing system at Japan airport

S. Korean woman passes through Japan's biometric immigration screening (Jan.01 17:06)

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