The Transportation Security Administration or TSA is finally set to spread its wings to incorporate biometrics in security checks at airports. If reports are to be believed, then matching a traveler’s face with the ID photo could just mean some clever biometric tech at work. The pilot program is being tested at airports such as Denver, Dallas Fort-Worth, Las Vegas, and Atlanta.
This TSA program is under testing phase but has been receiving ample pushback. Biometrics has been fiddling alongside the travel industry for some time now. By now, most travelers are familiar with how things work. It is worth recalling that biometrics is highly secure in terms of ID verification. There is a lot of work happening around using the same for bag drops, gate security as well as check-ins.
Understanding what this entails?
The primary goal is using biometrics in streamlining the overall passenger experience and also satisfying security protocols. If facial biometrics gets harnessed to the right point travelers can forget showing their ID at each checkpoint.
Some data doing the talking
Nick Careen, VP of IATA said, “Passengers have spoken and want technology to work harder, so they spend less time being processed or standing in queues. Before traffic ramps-up, we have a window of opportunity to ensure a smooth return to travel post pandemic and deliver long-term efficiency improvements for passengers, airlines, airports, and governments.”
In 2021, International Air Transport Association or IATA’s Global Passenger Survey revealed that around 73 percent passengers are willing to share their biometric data for improving airport processes. The major concern is data protection and data breach-related concerns. 52 percent passengers reveal that they need clarity on how their data is shared ahead and how the same will be processed.
In response to TSA’s move to scan faces at checkpoints, Brittany Bowens, a passenger said, “I think it’s a great idea. I’m absolutely tech-forward.”
Albert Fox Cahn, part of a nonprofit organization called Security Technology Oversight Project, said that this TSA initiative could be the largest use of facial data at a federal level. However, he also pointed out that if the algorithm glitches come into being, there could be heightened surveillance and more privacy invasions.
Then again, you need to make note of the TS insistence on commitment towards passenger privacy, and data protection from cyber-attacks. This is in response to around 20 local and state governments implementing restrictions in use of facial tech.
The idea dictating TSA’s pilot-initiative is that you just do not need to show that ID at airports anymore. With biometrics waiting to take off, this could be a baby step taken in the right direction!