American Airlines has just launched facial recognition technology as an alternative to boarding passes. They are not the first to use the technology. According to the Washington Post, as of 2018, 14 airports were using facial recognition technology for the boarding process.
It’s being used by Lufthansa at Los Angles’ LAX, at Singapore’s Changi airport and London’s Heathrow. Lufthansa commented that it provided “faster and more convenient processes for guests to move through airport.” While Heathrow Airport claimed that after its 2018 trial, it could be used to “reduce average passenger’s journey time by up to a third.”
American Airlines is using facial recognition as an option at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Passengers will still need a boarding pass and an ID to get through security. Currently the technology is only being used for international flights at Terminal D. The airline called the new service an “additional convenience during the departure process,” though if you still need your boarding pass and ID, how is that more convenient?
Beyond convenience, many people have expressed concerns about the technology’s potential for violation of privacy rights. American Airlines said that the photos of people’s faces won’t be saved, but that scanned images will be sent to US Customs and Border Protection. Alarm bells. Debates about the technology will continue as it further integrates into our lives. Laws that limit potential abuses will be part of the debate