The marmite-style (you either love them or hate them) iris recognition-enabled automated border gates installed in the UK - IRIS - face a slow death after almost seven years of operation.
The UK government has said that whilst the technology has provided significant benefits to its border operation, it is now nearing the end of its useful life, and is gradually being phased out.
At the end of December 2011 IRIS enrolments formally ceased and to date IRIS Barriers have been removed from Gatwick South, Birmingham, and Manchester airports.
At the end of September 2012, the IRIS Barriers at Heathrow Terminals 1, 4, and Gatwick North were due to be closed and decommissioned, leaving IRIS still operating in Heathrow Terminals 3 and 5 (where IRIS is used the most).
The UK government said the Barriers at Terminals 3 and 5 will remain operational whilst we “develop our strategy for an alternative method of processing displaced IRIS registered Passengers”.
Adult holders of EEA ePassports already have a biometric alternative as they can use the ePassport gates which have been deployed at all airport Terminals where IRIS Barriers were previously located.