Why do we need automated
biometrics at airports? Airports
have managed well for many,
many years without such
technology, so why now?
The answers are simple and
First, as evidenced by several recent
and tragic incidents, the threat
levels to aviation worldwide have
risen, and accurate and reliable
passenger and staff identification
has become more necessary for
security purposes. Automated
biometrics provides such security.
Second, biometrics can be viewed
as a more convenient mechanism
for passenger and staff use for
identification. Who needs to
A TECHNOLOGY IN EVERY
BY CHRISTER WILKINSON
remember passwords or a booking
confirmation number when an
automated biometric system can
reliably and quickly identify you?
Third, public recognition for
increased personal security
has made the use of biometrics
to protect personal data more
acceptable, and, hence, its use in
aviation is accepted and even in
some cases expected.
It should, of course, be realized
that the use of biometrics for
identity determination is not a
recent development. The use of
facial recognition and fingerprint
recognition by trained operatives
has been around for many years.
But automated biometric recognition
only has been effective for about 10
years, and is now far more reliable
than human interpretation, in
In addition, when considering
the use of biometrics, one should
recognize the differences between
the use of a biometric to confirm the
identity of an individual, or carry
out some form of background check,
or the use of a biometric to confirm
the use of a credential, or ticket, or
device by the authorized person.
Clearly the most developed
biometric is fingerprint technology.
This is based on extensive past use
by security and law enforcement
agencies that have biometric records
going back many years, and the
It is a rare movie about the future that does not use some form of biometric
identification as part of the plot. A few years ago this technology would have been
considered amazing. But, with fingerprint recognition capability now available on
most smartphones, biometrics, and specifically automated biometric recognition,
inexorably are coming into our everyday life.