British Tourists May Soon Face AI ‘Lie Detector’ Tests When Entering European Union

If the AI detects any signs of deception or suspicious behavior, the passenger’s details will be flagged for further investigation by an immigration officer.

AP/Frank Augstein, file
Travelers at Heathrow Airport, which recently apologized to passengers whose travels have been disrupted by staff shortages, June 22, 2022. AP/Frank Augstein, file

Tourists from the United Kingdom may face additional hurdles when traveling to Europe later this year as new AI-powered “lie detector” tests are introduced at border checkpoints.

The European Union is taking steps to enhance border security in the wake of Brexit, with new technologies potentially impacting family vacations. Advanced scanners, equipped with artificial intelligence, will scrutinize passengers’ body language and facial expressions at airports and ferry ports as they complete entry forms.

If the AI detects any signs of deception or suspicious behavior, the passenger’s details will be flagged for further investigation by an immigration officer. This could result in additional checks and even denial of entry, according to a report by the Daily Mail on Sunday.

Experts have raised concerns that this new scheme could lead to a significant increase in visa rejections, with potential discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The technology is set to be gradually introduced following the implementation of the Entry-Exit System, which will impact all British travelers starting October 6.

The proposed technology, which has faced criticism from civil rights groups and politicians across Europe, has already been tested successfully through trials known as iBorderCtrl and Trespass. iBorderCtrl trials were conducted between 2016 and 2019 in Greece, Hungary, and Latvia, where AI immigration officers interviewed applicants and analyzed their facial expressions.

The Trespass project, which continued until November 2021, assessed travelers’ truthfulness by examining their facial expressions, gestures, and body postures.


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