#privacy: Delta Air Lines launches facial recognition technology at LA Airport

Delta Airlines has deployed facial recognition technology  at Los Angeles International Airport. 

The new technology will accelerate passenger clearance processes and shave minutes off their boarding time. To verify their identity, passengers will have to step into a kiosk using facial recognition technology. 

The move comes in the midst of calls for a statewide moratorium on the use of facial-recognition technology in police body cameras in California. 

Currently the airline has installed biometric check-in kiosks at one gate, with plans to install more than a dozen at LAX before the end of the year. However the move has drawn criticism from privacy advocates, who have argued that facial recognition technology could be used against them by law enforcement. 

California Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco commented that the use of the technology would cause concerns for privacy rights and civil liberties. In an interview, Ting compared how Facebook was able to convince users into handing over their data to the use of biometric data. 

“Facebook used all that personal information to make billions selling that data to advertisers and other parties and people are just now starting to recognize the unintended consequences,” Ting said. “People will not realize what they lost until it’s too late.”

Delta Airlines has stated that the technology had been tested at airports including New York and Atlanta with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

In a statement CBP said: “Although CBP has a very thorough and robust biographic vetting system, biometrics provides additional assurance and confirmation of identity.”

The biometric check-ins are optionals and all information collected is encrypted. CBP has stressed that all photos it receives of US citizens are discarded within 12 hours. 

Delta spokeswoman Liz Savadelis said: “Maintaining the privacy and security of customer information is a responsibility Delta takes very seriously.”

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