Gatwick Airport to use facial recognition tech

Gatwick facial recognition scannersImage copyright Gatwick Airport
Image caption Gatwick first trialled facial recognition-based checks at a few of its departure gates final 12 months

Gatwick has turn into the UK’s first airport to verify it is going to use facial recognition cameras on a everlasting foundation for ID checks earlier than passengers board planes.

It follows a self-boarding trial carried out in partnership with Easyjet final 12 months.

The London airport mentioned the tech ought to scale back queuing occasions, however added that travellers would nonetheless want to carry their passports.

Privacy campaigners are involved.

The choice was first reported by the Telegraph newspaper.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Gatwick informed the BBC that it had taken the choice after reviewing suggestions supplied by passengers concerned within the earlier take a look at.

“More than 90% of those interviewed said they found the technology extremely easy to use and the trial demonstrated faster boarding of the aircraft for the airline and a significant reduction in queue time for passengers,” she mentioned.

“Gatwick [is now planning] a second trial in the next six months and then rolling out auto-boarding technology on eight departure gates in the North Terminal when it opens a new extension to its Pier 6 departure facility in 2022.”

She added that passengers would nonetheless want to go by way of the bag-check safety zone, at which level they would wish to current a boarding go.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dulles Airport within the US already makes use of facial recognition scanners to verify passenger IDs

In addition, they would wish to scan their passport on the departure gate for the system to have the option to match the photograph inside to their precise face.

The course of is comparable to that already used on the ePassport arrival gates at some UK airports. But it differs from Gatwick’s unique take a look at, the place travellers scanned their faces on the baggage drop-off zone.

Consent considerations

That choice will restrict Gatwick’s potential to use facial recognition for different providers.

China’s Chengdu Shuangliu airport, for instance, lately put in a system that robotically presents travellers with up-to-date data about their flights once they stroll up to a display screen. This is made doable as a result of guests have to current their passports at an earlier stage.

Even so, one civil liberties group is anxious that travellers won’t realise they will decide out.

“Our main concern… would be the issue of proper consent,” defined Ioannis Kouvakas from Privacy International.

“Placing basic or obscure indicators that merely let people know that this know-how is being deployed, as soon as people are already contained in the check-in space, is insufficient, in our view, to fulfill the strict transparency and consent necessities imposed by information safety legal guidelines.

“If this might apply to little one travellers… it raises much more considerations contemplating the particular safety afforded to youngsters’s privateness and the dangers related to having their biometrics taken by the airport personal entities.”

A spokeswoman for Gatwick mentioned it had designed its use of the tech to be “compliant with all information safety legislation” and passengers would have the option to select to have their passports checked by human employees.

“Our subsequent passenger trial will happen within the subsequent six months and no information will probably be saved – as a substitute it is going to be held momentarily whereas the identification verify takes place, solely a matter of seconds,” she defined.

Children underneath a sure age would wish parental or guardian consent, she added, though Gatwick has nonetheless to decide what the cut-off level will probably be.

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