Facial Recognition At Airports, Privacy Concerns And Options.

Airline travelers are now facing a new reality- their faces are now being used as boarding pass I.D.s.

Facial recognition technology is now in use at boarding gates for international flights at major airports in Europe, Asia and the U.S., even as privacy concerns about the technology continue to grow.

JetBlue has incorporated facial recognition technology at airports in New York; Delta in Atlanta, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City, with the remainder of its hubs added by year end 2019.  International airlines (such as Air France, Lufthansa and Norwegian) are also scanning faces to board airplanes in the U.S.

In Atlanta, Delta is using facial recognition for international passengers anywhere you would have to normally show your i.d./passport, i.e., the TSA checkpoint and boarding gate. You just look into the camera and the system identifies you and knows your destination and then prints out the luggage tag, eliminating the need for your passport and I.D. at boarding.  Just look into the camera and then go through the body scanners. Your seat assignment is processed at the gate, once again via facial recognition.

While facial recognition airport security and boarding is currently optional, Delta states that, as of last month,  only 2% of its passengers have thus far opted out of the program at the locations where it is in place.  If you wish to bypas the f.r. technology, simply hand over your passport and I.D. as in the past.

But privacy advocates have raised concern.

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit research organization, says facial recognition can easily be misused unless strict rules are in place.

“It is a very intrusive identification technique, because it’s general-purpose. That technology being used by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) could be used by other federal agencies for other purposes,” he says. After airports, the government might take it to federal office buildings where people today can enter without being identified, Mr. Rotenberg says.

CBP says airline use of facial recognition isn’t an expansion, only a better way to confirm who’s onboard.

“This is not a surveillance program. This is replacing a manual check that goes on today,” says John Wagner, deputy executive assistant commissioner of CBP.

WSJ, August 14, 2019

We will certainly monitor this boarding process shift involving facial recognition technology and, update as warranted.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, be safe.

 

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