Sydney Airport initiates biometric check-in ventures

Qantas allowing biometric scanning at Sydney airport

Would you like to skip past passport check-ins in the blink of an eye?

Sydney airport is initiating trials for its new biometric passport check-ins. The new system will allow Qantas passengers to just scan their faces through every stoppage. This will also allow security officials to examine the passengers quicker than usual.

But, the idea of using biometrics as a sole source of authentication at the airport is raising questions concerning security. “The concern here is that this is ultimately disproportionate. Biometrics are very powerful and can produce real social benefits, or it can produce real harm. Just because you have a hammer, doesn’t mean everything is a nail.”, says Dr. Bruce Baer Arnold in a statement to the Australian Financial Review.

The airline conducting this trial- Qantas – will consider international travelers for the same. Participants will be pleaded for their participation in the trial and be provided with detailed information regarding the collection of their data during the registration process, Sydney airport officials said. Later, upon agreement, the participants will have their photos captured and passports scanned during check-in, and the data collected will be linked together for the biometric system to recognize the passenger based on the passport details.

“In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass – your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process,” Sydney Airport chief executive Geoff Culbert said in a statement.

Facial recognition is being widely used throughout the world and owing to that, people have already been acquainted with the technology. So, it is expected that fewer problems will be experienced with this new acquisition. The UAE deals with this problem in an entirely different way. UAE residents who have an Emirates ID- a card that acts as an alternative to the passport in the country- can just scan their cards enabling them to skip almost every check-in department.

However, these trials could raise eyebrows, especially since GDPR has been brought into action. Data collection is now considered precarious as users are getting aware and possessive about how their data is being bounced around the internet. If at all, these trials convert into real operations, countries will have to be prepared to handle data in a very careful manner, since it will involve data in direct relation to national security. Oversaturation could lead to disastrous consequences and eventually lead to distrust amongst people regarding how their data is handled.

Although, currently, people have mixed opinions on the matter. “There’s more people saying it’s OK, rather than being cautious. But I think there will be a tipping point where people see this getting worse and worse and more and more of our data being used. But the reality is if this is done properly and people are informed of what the data is used for, it can help speed things up and make the customer experience better,” Michael Blumenstein said.