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G20 health pass guidelines urging biometrics investment welcomed by IATA

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Guidance and advice for the aviation industry from G20 and Jumio, as it begins its recovery from a near-complete shutdown, cover some similar territory on the benefit of biometrics and digital ID, while SITA is participating in a new data-sharing trial in Aruba. An Indian activist group is seeking details on that country’s plans for facial recognition at vaccination sights and airports, and Israel has extended its health passes to the end of the year.

The final draft of the ‘G20 Rome Guidelines for the future of tourism’ has been published, with a five-point agenda for restoring international travel which includes upgrading digital identity, biometric technology and contactless transactions for travelers.

Developed by the OECD in collaboration with the Italian G20 Tourism Working Group, the guidelines continue the promotion of seamless travel with biometrics and digital identity.

The document goes on to call for investment in biometrics, as well as health testing, monitoring, and security services, as well as data protection.

The other main points touch on information sharing, common international approaches, providing clear and accessible information to travelers, and improving the connectivity, safety and sustainability of transportation systems.

A response from the International Air Travel Association (IATA) welcomes the guidelines’ emphasis on information sharing, collaboration on practical processes, and data-driven policies.

“The G20’s call for a combined effort of industry and governments to share information moves us towards the risk management framework that is needed for a restart. No industry knows better that safety is paramount than aviation,” states IATA Director General Willie Walsh.

“Effective risk management—based on evidence, data and facts—underpins everything airlines do, and it is a core aviation competency that can help governments safely reopen borders. Over a year into the crisis, and with six months of experience with vaccines, data exists to support the targeted measures that the G20 is aiming for. Using data to guide restart plans should gain impetus from the G20 action plan.”

IATA says its Travel Pass and the UNWTO/IATA Destination Tracker are among areas where critical progress is being made. Momentum towards the resumption of travel is also shown by the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, commitments by European lawmakers to welcome back vaccinated travelers, the UK’s planned resumption of international travel on May 17, Italy’s implementation of the EU Green Pass, and France’s intentions to reopen on June 9.

Jumio emphasizes online identity verification

Online digital identity verification can help aviation industry companies “kick-start” their digital transformations, Jumio Senior Product Marketing Manager Roberto Colecchia writes in a paid Forbes article.

Colecchia notes that Jumio works with airlines including United, EasyJet and Hawaiian Airlines, and has seen the value of ID document and selfie biometric checks for passengers and carriers alike. Customer check-ins can be made more efficient, improving the travel experience while cutting cost for the airline, and the NFC chips contained in modern passports allow self-boarding scans.

As air traffic returns, airlines can also protect themselves from fraud, the post argues, in ticket purchases and rewards programs, with online identity verification.

India’s facial recognition plans questioned

The Internet Freedom Foundation has filed six Right to Information (RTI) requests from government agencies to find out the details of plans for biometrics to be used in air travel and COVID-19 vaccination programs, the Hindustan Times reports.

The RTI’s demand information from the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), on its plans for touchless vaccine recipient identity verification with Aadhaar face biometrics, from the National Health Authority about its intentions in the same area. The IFF is also seeking information from the Airports Authority of India regarding its facial recognition deployments at Varanasi, Vijayawada and Pune Airports.

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare is being asked for details about an MoU signed with Microsoft.

SITA participating in Aruba trial

SITA is participating in a trial of the Aruba Health App, in partnership with Indicio.tech and the Aruba Health Department, allowing travelers to share a trusted traveler credential based on their health status, with a decentralized digital identity model protecting the data’s security and privacy.

The Aruba Health App uses blockchain, and while it does not appear to use biometrics, it is used within the Aruba airport ecosystem and makes use of an ID document scan, which data could potentially be verified through the biometric Aruba Happy Flow program.

The app is used to deliver a ‘Happy Traveler Card’ which can be verified by participating businesses within Aruba’s hospitality industry.

Israel’s Green Pass extended

The Green Pass vaccination certificate system adopted by Israel will remain in place until the end of 2021, the country’s Health Ministry has announced, according to Haaretz.

The validity of Israel’s Green Passes was originally set to expire 6 months after the bearer’s second vaccine shot.

Other changes announced by the Ministry include waiving the requirement for Green Pass presentation to sit at outdoor events, and raising the number of people allowed in indoor spaces.

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