June 24, 2014

Accenture Research Shows Citizen Support for Biometrics to Facilitate Travel and Secure Borders

ARLINGTON, Va; June 24, 2014 – The majority of citizens surveyed by Accenture (NYSE:ACN) in six countries (89 percent) say they are willing to share their biometric details – the unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, that can be used to verify identities and automate recognition – when traveling across international borders. However, most (69 percent) of the 3,000 survey respondents say they have not shared any biometric information to date.

Survey respondents – from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – believe biometrics can play a significant role in facilitating faster and more secure travel while protecting borders. When asked about the specific benefits of sharing biometrics more than half (62 percent) of those surveyed are willing to share biometric information to make their country’s borders more secure, speed up customs and border control processing (58 percent) and make travel more convenient (56 percent).

“The survey findings show strong support from citizens for the greater use of biometrics to secure national borders, enable more convenient travel and facilitate faster processing through customs and border control,” said Mark Crego who leads Accenture’s global Border and Identity Services business. “The majority of citizens are willing to share biometric details to help increase border security and, at the same time, reap benefits such as faster processing times at borders and more convenient travel.”

Smart Borders
More than half (58 percent) of those surveyed said they would be likely to share their biometric details to enable participation in Registered Traveler Programs (RTP’s) that allow pre-registered passengers to have faster, easier processing through customs and border control.

The survey also found nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of citizens support the use of biometrics to verify the identities of all persons crossing borders (citizens and visitors) and a similar number (73 percent) believe that using biometrics to verify the identity of everyone crossing the border would make countries more secure.

Crego added: “The strong support by citizens for technologies that can improve travel and secure borders demonstrates how important it is for border management agencies to continue adopting new tools that meet the demands of citizens and better manage the transit of people across borders. Increasing the use of biometrics and introducing registered traveler programs can make traveling faster, safer and more convenient and strengthen both border and national security through improved intelligence gathering.”

Automated Border Clearance (e-gates)
When asked about the use of automated border clearance solutions, such as e-gates at airports and border crossings, less than one-fourth (23 percent) of respondents said they had used an e-gate in the past. However, of those who have used an e-gate, the majority (80 percent) said they would do so again if they had the option, and 85 percent of e-gate users found them faster than manual border clearance checkpoints managed by a border patrol officer.

Despite citizens’ support for biometrics and the greater use of technology to facilitate travel, more than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) said that prior to deciding to share their biometric information, they would want to know what security measures were in place to protect the data, and 67 percent would want to know how their personal information is being used.

U.S. Findings
The large majority of U.S. citizens surveyed (87 percent) are willing to share biometric details with border agencies to facilitate travel. However, only 19 percent say they have shared any biometric information to date. Additionally:

Country Comparisons

Learn more about Accenture’s work in Public Safety and Delivering Public Service for the Future.

Accenture surveyed 3,001 citizens in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States from April 14-28, 2014, via an online quantitative survey. The research was fielded by Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) to capture general citizen attitudes toward biometrics, especially as they might be applied to border control and travel. The overall margin of error for the study is ±1.79 percentage points at the global level and ±4.38 at the individual country level.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 289,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is www.accenture.com.

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Joe Doyle
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