Israel Unveils New Airport Security Technology

Israel on Tuesday unveiled new airport technology that it said could reduce intrusive security checks while making flying safer.

Airports Authority spokeswoman Maayan Malchin said the biometrics system is being tested at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.

Instead of waiting in long lines to be checked by inspectors, travelers will swipe smart cards containing their photo, fingerprints and personal details.

The biometrics scanners are similar in size and appearance to cash machines. They are fitted with cameras that snap a picture of the traveler and compare it to the card. Travelers then answer basic security questions on the screen, Malchin said.

Security checkers will stand by to assist with questions. They are also there to observe body language like excessive sweating and nervousness. Foreign travelers will be allowed to register with the system, Malchin said.

The authority said the homegrown technology is the first of its kind, and if the test is successful, it could be used at all Israeli border crossings next year. Israel has long been a world leader in airport security — the result of hijackings and other attacks in past decades.

Airports around the world have gone on higher alert since a failed attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up a plane en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas.