Airport biometrics launched in South Korea and Poland as U.S. oversight board weighs benefits

Biometric deployments at airports continue at a rapid pace, with deployments in South Korea and Poland, as details continue to emerge on the Known Traveler Digital Identity program.

Air passengers in South Korea will be able to use palm vein biometrics for authentication during boarding checks starting in January, after the Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KFTC) and the Korea Airports Corporation (KAC) signed a memorandum of understanding, as reported by Aju Business Daily.

The MoU authorizes the utilization and sharing of biometric data between 14 airports, but the agencies also plan to eventually enable travelers to pay for airport concessions with biometric authentication.

Testing of fingerprint and palm vein recognition was launched to the 14 airports last November. Both modalities are used relatively widely by shops and banks in South Korea, according to the report.

Warsaw/Modlin Airport in Poland has launched biometric security gates for automated border checks with facial recognition to prevent fraudulent travel document use and detect known security threats, the airport operator has announced.

Acting President of the Port of Aviation Warsaw/Modlin Leszek Chorzewski says the five new lanes have been tested since mid-May, and will shorten the time needed for border checks to several seconds per person, as translated by Google. All passengers from a larger aircraft can be processed in about 12 to 13 minutes, and the technology will increase the airport’s capacity.

The system is being paid for by the Mazowsze Governor, Poland’s Border Guard’s Headquarters, and the airport, according to the announcement.

Vision-Box has announced its biometric technology is being used as part of the Known Traveler Digital Identity service being run for paperless border clearance between Canada and the Netherlands.

The pilot will involve the issuance of a Passenger Data Envelope for the self-service enrollment of biometrics with a dedicated application, and no further checks except on-the-move face scans. The Vision-Box Orchestra platform at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, part of the Seamless Flow program, facilitates the pilot program.

“This is an important step in the usage of leading-edge technologies at the service of the cross-border movement of people. The Known Traveler Digital Identity is a key initiative in the domain of Identity Digitization, beacon of modern travel. It will contribute to the establishment of standards for global interoperability and privacy-preserving identity management models that will bring significant opportunities for the aviation, travel and tourism industries. This is another key milestone of the delivery of the One iD framework, where our technology and orchestration platform contribute to the concrete expression of modern travel,” said Vision-Box CEO Miguel Leitmann.

The U.S. Government’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will review the use of facial recognition and other biometrics in aviation security, as one of three new oversight projects it has voted to launch.

The review will consider the use of biometrics to verify individuals’ identities “from booking to baggage claim,” considering both the operational benefits and the privacy and civil liberties implications of the technologies. Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform recently suggested the TSA’s biometrics programs should be operated on an opt-in, rather than opt-out basis.

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