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Panel outlines steps for airport biometrics privacy, IATA Travel Pass pilot started by Singapore Airlines

Airport security market booming

airport facial recognition masks

Integrations of face and behavioral biometrics into airport surveillance systems are among the dramatic growth opportunities in the global airport security market, which is forecast to reach $13.63 billion by 2030 by Frost & Sullivan.

The consultancy’s latest analysis, ‘Vendors Offer New Digitized Solutions to Drive the Global Airport Security Market’ suggests the market was $5.19 billion in 2020, with major opportunities in screening, cybersecurity, and data analytics.

The report breaks the market into the categories of access control and identity management, surveillance, cybersecurity, managed services, data analytics and storage, command and control, screening and detection, and communication equipment. It also considers the market by region, with Asia-Pacific expected to become the largest contributor to revenues, overtaking North America. The African market is expected to grow at the highest rate.

As many of the COVID-19 screening systems put in place at airports also include biometrics, a substantial portion of the forecasted market growth may come sooner rather than later in the decade.

Panelists consider privacy implications

Informing people of biometrics use in ways they can easily understand is a key to protecting their privacy, according to panelists in a webinar on ‘Privacy and Passenger Biometrics: New Developments and Perspectives,’ hosted by The Institute for Peace & Diplomacy (IPD).

The panel included John Wagner, the ‘Father of Global Entry’ and recently the deputy executive assistant commissioner (Office of Field Operations) for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Wagner also launched consultancy G2Xchange in October.

InterVISTAS Consulting CEO and President Solomon Wong introduced the theme of the need to balance the practical benefits of touchless travel and biometrics against the challenge of regulating new technologies. Ellen McClain of InterVISTAS, formerly of DHS, spoke about the legal landscape for biometrics in the U.S., and Wagner presented on CBP’s efforts to create a unified passenger identity management system.

Aviation law specialist Isabelle Lelieur addressed how GDPR relates to airport biometrics efforts, and Jacqueline Lu of Helpful Places spoke about the Digital Trust for Places and Routines (DTPR) conceptual framework, which attempts to build up user trust in technology through transparency and enhanced user understanding.

IATA Travel Pass adopted, Senior VP calls for faster standardization

Singapore Airlines will begin using the IATA Travel Pass next week to confirm the travel status of passengers travelling between Singapore and London with biometrics, Simple Flying reports. The pilot is the second phase in the airline’s trial.

The IATA Travel Pass was developed in partnership with Evernym, and expected to be used by major airlines in March.

Passengers use the Travel Pass be downloading the app and then booking an appointment for a test at one of seven participating clinics in Singapore. Passengers departing from Singapore must show their status using the app to Singapore Airlines check-in staff at Singapore Changi Airport, but are also required to bring a physical copy of their COVID-19 test results issued by the clinic.

IATA Senior Vice President for Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security (APCS) Nick Careen said in a briefing reported separately by Simple Flying that standardization is needed to secure digital health passes from fraud.

The Good Health Pass initiative launched by ID2020 seeks to ensure interoperability and standards for privacy and security, and includes Evernym as a founding participant.

Careen compares the fraud risk to that of yellow fever vaccine certificates, the paper-based credentials which are regularly forged, and Simply Flying notes that fake COVID test certificates have already been spotted for sale in the wild by Europol.

“There have to be global standards to securely record digital proof of vaccination, and … mutual recognition and acceptance of COVID-19 certifications when people travel around the world,” Careen said during the IATA briefing. “The World Health Organization, ICAO and OECD have been working on these standards, but each day without them means the challenge gets bigger.

“This process needs to be accelerated.”

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