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Certification and audit framework for face biometrics in aviation pitched by World Economic Forum

Amadeus and Star Alliance partner up, Brazil airport announces deployment
Certification and audit framework for face biometrics in aviation pitched by World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum has launched a toolkit and certification framework that it says has been shown in testing to promote the responsible use of face biometrics, and can build a new level of trust and transparency between system users and stakeholders.

The new white paper, titled ‘Responsible Limits on Facial Recognition – Use Case: Flow Management’ is the second part of the guidance, and applies to the pilot phase of biometrics projects, including self-assessment, audit management systems and certification.

The 53-page white paper takes Tokyo-Narita Airport’s deployment of facial recognition from NEC to implement IATA’s One ID program is taken as a case study. The airport’s self-assessment on its facial recognition technology use is shared, which the WEF claims is a first. User experience, bias mitigation, and data protection aspects of the program are explored, and the audit framework’s objective and structure reviewed.

Part 1 was published in March of this year, and set out four primary steps that organizations must take to ensure responsible use of facial recognition. The sequel expands the list to 10 ‘Principles for Action.’

The principles include are included in the section on audit structure, and refer to proportionality, risk assessment, bias and discrimination, privacy by design, performance, right to information, consent, public information sharing (like signage), the right to access of vulnerable groups and alternative options and human presence.

The system relies on the application of an audit framework by third-party certification organizations to increase trust and transparency, and its certification scheme. The certification framework and process are also described in the white paper.

WEF also provides organizations with a timeline for carrying out the various processes involved in certification, and what happens if organizations fail to comply with the voluntary scheme.

“During the global Covid-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of industry actors are considering deploying facial recognition to improve their flow management processes. Yet this comes with various risks for customers and citizens alike,” states World Economic Forum Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Kay Firth-Butterfield. “This is the first global multistakeholder effort to mitigate these risks effectively.”

The white paper discusses the importance of a balanced governance framework for the technology, and reviews the reproducible pilot-based approach set out in the Part 1.

The audit framework and certification scheme will be tested with industry actors to assess their relevance, difficulty to implement and effectiveness for the next step.

On success completion of the pilot, the WEF intends to form a multi-stakeholder coalition to advance it as a standard, and the white paper concludes that if successful, the same model could be used for other facial recognition applications.

Amadeus and Star Alliance to link biometric systems

Amadeus has announced a partnership with Star Alliance, meanwhile, to bridge the biometric digital identity systems of each and provide end-to-end seamless travel at more airports.

There are millions of travelers enrolled in Star Alliance Biometrics or Amadeus Traveler ID, according to the announcement, and

The new Star Alliance Biometrics program was launched last month through a partnership with NEC to enable touchless, secure airport processes from curb to gate. Amadeus says the secure and agnostic identity exchange and verification capabilities of its Traveler ID solution simplifies travelers’ experiences by connecting their digital ID to online or biometric portals. Soon, they will also be able to connect with the Star Alliance Biometrics solution.

Star Alliance VP of Customer Experience Christian Draeger says the partnership will increase the operational ability and processing speed of its partners airlines.

“The Traveler ID solution is agnostic, meaning that all types of travel companies can work with us for a variety of digital identity needs, from enrolling travelers, to organizing the collaboration of multiple providers to orchestrate the end-to-end identity verification process,” adds Amadeus EVP Airlines Central & Eastern Europe Monika Wiederhold. “Ultimately, our objective with Traveler ID is to help the industry deploy frictionless travel throughout the whole passenger journey. We can only achieve this through collaboration with travel industry partners, which is why we are so pleased to work with Star Alliance to bring this vision to life.”

Second Brazilian airport launches face biometrics

Salvador Airport in the Brazilian state of Bahia is testing facial recognition as a passenger authentication method for flight check-ins and boarding, after being chosen by the federal government as the second location to pilot the technology.

The Embarque + Seguro biometric solution is being trialled for boarding without the use of travel documents on a voluntary basis by passengers of airline GOL. Passenger biometrics are validated against government databases during check-in, which are provided by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and the National Driver’s License records operated by Denatran. The two databases hold 120 million registered voter records and 67 million driver records, respectively.

The technology was developed by government IT company Serpro, in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure.

While facial recognition solutions for automated passenger boarding and egates was already available on the market, a unified national system to check against government databases was not, according to the announcement.

Ultimately, Brazil plans to link the system to other government databases and implement biometric boarding across the country.

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