According to an Engadget report, Air France-KLM is planning to experiment with using facial recognition in place of traditional boarding passes on Air France flights departing from John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City and George Bush International Airport (IAH) in Houston. If their early test is successful, they hope to see 100% of all US airports adopt facial recognition tech by the end of 2020.
Air France-KLM isn’t the first company to test biometric boarding. A few companies have already tried using biometric recognition (including facial recognition) technology to verify a traveler’s identity. JetBlue began trials in 2017. British Airways is conducting its own trial. Qantas passengers use facial recognition tech to board in Australia. Delta has experimented with using fingerprints instead of boarding passes, and Dubai International Airport scans passengers’ faces as they pass through a tunnel equipped with 80 facial recognition and iris scanning cameras.
It is said that facial recognition technology is secure, reliable, and accurate. That’s far from certain. According to the Engadget article of August 14, 2019, facial recognition tech misidentified 26 California lawmakers as criminals. More than half of those falsely identified were people of colour. The experiment follows a similar test conducted last year, where 28 members of Congress — the majority also people of colour — were mistakenly identified as criminals.
Probably, you can opt-out of airport facial recognition. After all, it’s not Customs and Border Protection collecting your facial recognition data directly – it’s the airlines – and they pass it on to the government.