Role of biometrics for safe travel reopening examined by IBIA Executive Director

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Biometrics will play a critical role in the redesign and future success of the aviation industry, but expanded outreach education and networking are needed to back that redesign, International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA) Executive Director Tovah LaDier writes for International Airport Review.

LaDier provides a history of the U.S. government’s use of biometrics in air travel, beginning with the aftermath of 9/11 and the three pieces of legislation that underpin biometric passenger screening in the country.

A decade of little visible progress on what is now known as Biometric Entry/Exit early on, with “no precedent on how to proceed and there was no obvious affordable solution,” reflected concern about rushing to implement technology that pilots showed was not ready.

Once real-time biometric matching with facial recognition was adopted, LaDier explains that privacy activists seized on popular anxiety about data breaches and misuse not involving biometrics to challenge the technology.

LaDier sets out and refutes arguments that facial recognition is ‘biased,’ that matching algorithms are not perfect and therefore not good enough, that human recognition is sufficient, and that facial recognition is synonymous with surveillance.

Legacy airport processes need to change to rebuild and regain passenger confidence, and LaDier argues that in part by accelerating the adoption of touchless biometrics from check-in, the health of passengers and airports alike can be ensured.

Rail operators face many similar pressures, and are similarly using video analytics and biometrics to detect masks as part of their safety measures, according to an article by Thales.

The new environment of safety and regulatory concerns, combined with new travel patterns and the need to reassure passengers present an unprecedented challenge, following drop-offs in traffic as high as 95 percent. AI-based video analytics may also be used for instant temperature checks with thermal imaging, the company says.

Thales provides a range of digital and automated solutions for rail operators.

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