15 Sep

Jim Slevin

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The current state of biometrics and technology in Airports Pt. 2

Airports | 0 Comments

The-Team-Jim-SlevinIn the second part of his look at the current state of biometrics and technology in Airports, Jim Slevin looks at potential civil liberty fears, how trusted traveller programmes can allay them and fully automated border control.

Biometrics too invasive and lack data security

There are some people who say that being remotely filmed, having their physical characteristics monitored and in some cases stored on file, is an erosion of their civil liberties. The fact is that whilst the technology is becoming more pervasive arguably its less invasive, especially if you look at areas like Biometrics on the Move.

Pervasiveness does not immediately equate to wrong, if managed correctly. What it does say is that this is going to happen, its progress, but we have to make sure those who look after the data are fit to do so and that the passengers get the maximum benefit from sharing this data such as more choice at lower cost.

The entire value chain including Suppliers, Airports, Government, Airlines and indeed the Travellers themselves have a combined duty of care to maintain information and data protection of biometrics just as they would any other form of personal data. The supply industry is possibly slightly ahead as well deployed biometric system have been built from the ground up in a secure manner in order to allay the perception of risk in the general populous. Ultimately concerns will be overcome through use of biometric systems and the utility that brings to those who participate.

Fully Automated Border Control

Airport Security: Could this soon be a thing of the pastTwo years ago, the main obstacle to a fully automated border was reticence or risk appetite on the part of political stakeholders. Generating a fully automated solution is technically feasible, for the mass population. There will always be a small but perhaps from a security perspective significant population where interception by a human would be required or desired.

The key here is to automate for the majority and leave humans to deal with the most interesting and most complex cases. Self-service check-in is analogous here where we rightly see the model shifting from 90%+ of check-in via legacy check-in desks not that long ago to the position now where airports need to plan for 90% + as being self-service.

Trusted Traveller

Biometrics permits a level of automation not permitted by any other mechanism where identity needs to be proven. Designed and implemented correctly it also works faster and more accurately than a human undertaking the same identity check. It also allows a level of self-service which is increasingly desired and expected by passengers. Ultimately it form a basis for trusted – making sure that the same person who has been afforded a level of trust is the person pertaining to make use of that trusted status.

Read parts one and three of Jim's review of the current state of biometrics and technology in Airports.


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Topics: Airports

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