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Airport Facial Recognition May Cut Your Travel Time, Boost Security

Pixabay/Public Domain

Another country’s airports are about to roll out face recognition technology, and that may be a very good thing.

Sure, it sounds invasive on some level – combining facial recognition, with retina scanning, and gate recognition – but it can be quite useful.

The news comes from the Australian authorities who announced that its airports will soon make use of this technology. Officially, this new technology will play a part of cutting down the time people spend passing through immigration because once someone is recognized by the software they won’t have to present the passport anymore.

A similar project has already been deployed in the United States, at the New York JFK Airport. The initiative is led by Delta and the US Customs and Border Protection and implemented by Portugal-based company Vision-Box. This system assures the confirmation of passenger identity using facial recognition technology and Delta ticketing information. Once the screening is done, the eGate will open for passengers.

Now, this all sounds like a great idea for making passengers’ life easier while at the airport and anyone’s that’s flown will know this – spending less time in the airport makes for happier traveling.

But there’s another thing that this system can be used for – security. While they don’t outright say it, it’s clear that the same facial recognition software can work beyond allowing passengers faster travels. More specifically, in a matter of seconds, it could scan most wanted lists, lists of individuals that are known to have connections to terrorist or extremist groups of any kind.

 

Slowly spreading

The American Customs and Border Protection is apparently already planning on rolling out a facial recognition software on all airports, putting in all the data it has from passport photos or visa applications. They plan to take your photo as soon as you check in for arrivals or departure, and make it available for every transaction in the airport where you have to show an ID.

Truth be told, this wouldn’t be a bad idea. Sure, having facial recognition software monitoring your movements through the airport may seem invasive, but the truth of the matter is that airports are often the biggest targets for terrorist attacks. Furthermore, even if the airport itself is not a target, then the culprits need a way to enter the country and that’s often via airport, just like any other passenger.

Facial recognition software as the one we’re discussing here can bring many benefits to passengers by lessening their time spent moving through the airport, but it can also help increase overall security levels.

Officials won’t necessarily address the security facet of this technology, but it’s clear that it’s a possibility. We’re going to even mention that they may already have this technology in use, but did not disclose it, although it will certainly be easier to lump in with the other benefits. “Hey, you know, we’re going to scan your face to make it easier to travel, but we’re also going to hold onto the image in case you join the dark side.”

While we certainly advocate for privacy, this time around, we might even have something to win through this, both on a personal level and on a wider “greater-good” level. As time goes on, privacy itself gets redefined, so we’ll just need to adjust to it all.

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