If you’ve traveled by plane, you know how much patience you need to have to make it through check-in, security, and finally onto the plane. And that’s not even counting travel with kids. So is the convenience of facial recognition why it’s showing up at airports recently? Or is there something else going on?
Just today, the Washington Post reported that while it’s “unproved and largely unregulated,” facial recognition is already popping up here in the U.S. with airlines like Jet Blue and Delta. And sure, it sounds convenient; scan my face so I can bust through the long line of suckers with an ID and paper ticket (or e-ticket). But then, if you think about it, this is a pretty hefty privacy violation, especially since I’m guessing you haven’t committed a crime.
Yes, it’s currently limited to international travelers, and you do have the ability to opt-out, though, why are we being opted-in without our permission in the first place?
On a closer look, facial recognition really has very little to do with security, which, as the Washington Post article states “Passengers are already screened for that by humans and machines.” What does happen at e-gates is your likeness is scanned, then compared to a face database run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and well, you see exactly where this is going, right? And why all this when we’re leaving the country? It just seems… very fishy.
Here’s an important point from the article:
“What has civil libertarians worried is that airports are face-scanning everyone, including U.S. citizens. It’s true that airports are already places you have to present identification. But having a computer do that opens the potential for abuse the Constitution is supposed to protect us from. People in the United States can’t be searched unless they’re suspected of crimes. And anonymity is a pillar of free speech.”
So, while the airlines state they don’t keep the photos that are being taken, there’s something else that is being taken from us. A little bit of our privacy, or really I guess, a lot. All for what?
All we seem to be getting is a false sense of security in the guise of a convenience trap, and well, I’d rather keep my e-ticket or paper boarding pass, along with my passport, thank you very much.