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Home Secretary Jacqui Smith officially launched an airport trial of facial recognition technology.
The new equipment automatically scans passport photos and matches them to the biometric records held by the authorities.
It is claimed the five new gates being trialled at Manchester Airport will improve the speed at which travellers pass through border control and add to security.
The new gates can only be used with people from the UK and EU who are over 18 and hold a new-style chipped passport.
Ms Smith said: "The UK has one of the toughest borders in the world and we are determined to ensure it stays that way.
It's one more way for the powers that be to watch us. We can't do a thing now without someone watching us. Why is no-one bothered about this?
"People are being allowed through on the basis of this technology. It means that 95% of people won't be checked in any way, other than by the machine."
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Tom Brake said ministers must ensure the technology was "foolproof".