A New Website Helps You Choose Airlines That Don't Use Facial Recognition

Airlines are starting to use unregulated facial recognition. This new site will help you choose the ones that don't use this technology.
Chris Young

A digital rights group, Fight for the Future, has created a tool that helps travelers avoid flying with airlines that use unregulated FRT facial recognition at boarding.

AirlinePrivacy.com helps passengers book flights where they know they won't have a facial scan taken and stored in a database. It comes amidst growing unease at airline practices in personal data use.


A dystopian reality come true?

The group says that the capture and storing of our biometric data at boarding gates is a dystopian reality that we are living in. Opt-out methods are often unclear and might leave those that do opt-out on a watchlist, they claim.

The amount of time your facial scan is kept on record is also a mystery. However, what is known is that airlines sometimes pass this data onto federal agencies.

Non-US citizens can have their biometric data stored for life by the Department of Homeland Security.

A New Website Helps You Choose Airlines That Don't Use Facial Recognition
It only takes six seconds to have your face scanned at airports. 
Source: AirlinePrivacy.com

What's more, the technology has been shown to be inefficient and inaccurate. An MIT study showed that facial recognition software reflected inherent gender and race-based biases. In fact, San Francisco has gone as far as banning it completely.

Recently, cameras on long-haul flights have also caused concern amongst travelers. Once again, the airlines that had these devices on their planes weren't completely clear on how, or why, they were used.

Choose airlines with no facial recognition

The website allows bookings with airlines that have decided against implementing facial recognition, at boarding. 

Facial recognition is not compulsory by law. Despite this, some airlines, such as American Airlines, British Airways, and Lufthansa choose to have it at boarding — and they aren't completely transparent with how they use the data.

Not only does AirlinePrivacy.com allow you to book flights with airlines that don't use facial recognition, but it is also encouraging a campaign over Twitter to pressure airlines into disclosing why, and how, they use biometric data of their passengers. 

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