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App-less airport face biometrics roll out in India as US expansions meet mixed reaction

App-less airport face biometrics roll out in India as US expansions meet mixed reaction
 

Flyers in Gandhi International Airport (IGI) in Delhi, India, can now use facial recognition to move throughout the terminal, including security and boarding areas, without a mobile app.

Travelers first need to sign up with the Digi Yatra Foundation, which the organization claims will take one minute online and show physical ID at an airport registration desk.

Gandhi Airport is one of the largest airport in Asia by passenger volume, and the main international airport serving India’s capital, serving 27 million passengers in 2021.

Digi Yatra’s app was launched in December as part of a public-sector initiative, at airports in Delhi, Bangalore and Varanasi. It is designed to be a contactless and paperless boarding process.

Digi Yatra uses self-sovereign digital identity principles.

Data collected by Kempegowda International Airport, which serves metropolitan Bangalore, indicates that the Digi Yatra project is popular with passengers, according to the Times of India. 

The share of flyers using the digital ID system jumped 26-fold so far this year, rising from 0.6 percent in January to 6.3 percent June 7 in one airport terminal.

Face biometrics beta for airport security in US growing

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is preparing to roll out a facial recognition beta test at 16 to 28 airports worldwide.

U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of the state of Washington said, “I think that the more this technology is deployed, frankly, the more concerns it’s going to raise.”

Speaking to WSB television, the congresswoman suggested a moratorium “until we are absolutely confident that we are utilizing it in the best possible way,” Jayapal added.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, collection of biometric data has become mandatory for everyone entering Kuwait, residents or otherwise.

Business news publisher Bloomberg has published a piece about the fortunes of one of biometric airport security’s largest players; Clear.

It highlighted consumer complaints about long lines in recent months. And yet, the subscription service is growing. Clear reported a 53 percent quarterly increase in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

That news comes as Delta Air Lines and Los Angeles World Airports, the regional airport authority, are finishing the Delta Sky Way at LAX project, ahead of the airport’s plans to introduce digital ID and biometric capabilities later this year.

The project represents a $2.3 billion joint investment by the authority and Delta to modernize one of the airline’s largest hubs. While the scale is not being discussed much, facial recognition ID will be a part of that upgrade.

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