Looking back on the year in biometrics, it’s impossible to ignore a trend that was already well underway at the end of 2017 – the ascent of airport biometrics.
It’s an ascent that has been propelled by a number of actors and forces, with a key one being the US Customs and Border Protection agency. The CBP’s development of biometric border control technology based on facial recognition has been impressive, and the organization has seen a number of deployments in partnership with airports and airlines over the course of the year.
But it hasn’t been alone in pushing this trend forward: CLEAR and TSA PreCheck have both offered travelers expedited airport screening based on the pre-registration of biometric data, and have expanded to more airports (and beyond) this year, as well. Meanwhile, the World Travel & Tourism Council has also called on stakeholders to embrace biometrics as a means of coping with burgeoning traveler volumes and tightening border controls.
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And that, in turn, has further helped to push private sector air travel organizations to explore further applications of biometrics such as automated baggage checks and even boarding programs aimed at replacing travel documents with biometrics.
All of this has prompted some concern from privacy advocates and civil rights groups, and those larger debates are likely to intensify as these biometric programs continue to escalate. But the programs also promise more convenience for travelers, and early reports indicate that few are opting out of them. So it will be interesting to see how many respondents select the use of biometric eGates and kiosks as their most common experiences with biometric technology in FindBiometrics’ 2018 Year in Review survey; and likewise with respect to its polling of how many respondents are enrolled in expedited traveler screening programs.
And the more responses received in the survey, the more compelling its results will be – so be sure to take a moment to fill it out and make sure your voice is counted in the industry’s biggest and most popular annual survey.