Several airlines have instituted biometric boarding programs that scan passengers’ faces before letting them on to international flights. But there are no regulations on the use of facial recognition, which means these technologies are far too easy to abuse.
Just think: if we get used to getting our faces scanned to get on a plane, how long before we get our faces scanned to go to the doctor or buy groceries or for our kid to go to school?
Ubiquitous facial recognition technologies create a world where there is literally NO privacy. Governments, corporations, and law enforcement can track your every move without your consent. Automated and detailed profiles about you, about everywhere you go, and about everyone you associate with could be housed in databases with little to no security measures. The spread of untested and biased facial recognition technology in airports makes us less safe, not more safe.
It takes about 6 seconds for your face to be scanned before you get on a plane. If you’re a US citizen, your biometric data will be stored for a minimum of 12 hours. If you’re not a US citizen, your face will be stored forever with the Department of Homeland Security. The process of opting out of this is not clear and could put a target on your back.
Biometric boarding programs are not a TSA requirement. No airlines have come clean about how or why this info is necessary or how it’s being protected from hacking. We also don’t know what biometric information they will share with other companies or government agencies.
Before you book your flight, check to see which airlines are using face surveillance technologies.
These airlines don’t use facial recognition technology. Consider booking with these privacy-conscious airlines.