Privacy concerns raised with Vision-Box biometric cloud service for India’s Digi Yatra

Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) has started testing biometric facial recognition with Indian airline Vistara at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport

The involvement of Vision-Box in India’s trials of biometrics for aviation identity checks under Digi Yatra is facing scrutiny over the security and privacy of individual’s personal data, Business Today reports. Vision-Box is participating in a three-month trial at Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) for Vistara flights from Terminal 3, and is working with Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru) on an end-to-end paperless boarding project.

The Portugal-based biometrics provider supplies technology to 80 international airports, according to Business Today, but as a foreign-owned and operated cloud service, and in the absence of a personal data protection law in the country, some people are concerned their personal data could be used for surveillance or commercial purposes.

“There are already data privacy concerns in the country. We have to see that whether the servers on which the personal data will be stored are located in India or abroad,” says Sanjay Kaushik who is managing director of corporate security and risk consulting firm Netrika Consulting. “(I)t’s nearly impossible to trust any company since there have been several instances of data compromises at large internet companies like Facebook and Google.”

“With the weakness in both law and procedures, the courts had denied access to biometric data to private entities, including airports. Nothing substantive appears to have changed to make us believe that the passenger data and privacy will be safeguarded,” comments aviation blogger Devesh Agarwal, referring to the Supreme Court decision last year that Aadhaar cannot be mandatory for service from private entities.

Vision-Box said when it joined the Secure Identity Alliance this year that it will advocate for responsible biometrics use, and the company says its airport solution comply with Privacy by Design guidelines.

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