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Privacy group raises concerns about use of airport biometric solutions


The Electronic Privacy Information Center has raised concerns about the use of facial recognition and fingerprints to reduce friction points for airline passengers.

Last week, the TSA announced that it is launching a pilot program for new biometric checkpoint screening technology using fingerprints at a TSA PreP lane at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and at Denver International Airport and Delta and CBP announced they will be piloting facial recognition exit screening at Atlanta and New York airports.

Delta also announced today that it has introduced four self-service bag drop machines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, one of which will test facial recognition technology to match customers with their passport photos through identification verification. Travelers will first scan their passports before a camera scans the passenger’s face to confirm identity. Delta said it will not store travelers’ facial images.

According to a recent CBS News report, Jeramie Scott of the Electronic Privacy Information Center is worried about the use of personal identifiers that cannot change, commenting that “implementation of the use of biometrics need to be scrutinized very closely”.

Scott added that “increasingly, as we consolidate biometric data into big databases and we use it more and more, those databases will become targets, and the risk of data breach increases greatly.”

CBP insists it “remains committed to protecting the privacy of all travelers” and that it is not using biometric data collection devices to store photos of U.S citizens.

APEX, the Airline Passenger Experience Association, last month announced that it prefers the DHS biometrics initiative to an expansion of the electronics ban.

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