Immigration New Zealand has begun trials of biometric technology that uses facial recognition to verify the identity of people coming through New Zealand customs.
The trialled technology from biometrics technology firm Daon takes a photo of the person applying for a visa, and then uses this photo to verify the identity of the applicant when they attempt to gain entry to the country.
"Over the next few years [Immigration New Zealand] plans to use biometrics to confirm the identity of visa applicants and travellers at the border," Immigration New Zealand said in a statement. "Any technologies adopted will have substantial privacy safeguards, in accordance with New Zealand privacy laws."
The trial is not currently being deployed in regular border control operations and a decision on whether the technology will be employed by Immigration New Zealand is not expected to be made for at least 12 months, the department said.
"The evaluation is a short-term trial that is not being deployed operationally," Immigration New Zealand said. "It is separate from the Immigration Global Management System (IGMS) replacement of the current Application Management System (AMS). IGMS, once approved, will provide future operational identity management capabilities for INZ."
Immigration New Zealand would not reveal the cost of the evaluation or the amount Daon will be paid for the trial, stating it was commercially sensitive.