India To Introduce Facial Recognition Technology At Airports

Airports Authority of India (AAI) is working on a project of FRT (Facial Recognition Technology)-based Bio metric Boarding System as part of the first phase of Digi Yatra Implementation at four airports, Minister of State for Ministry of Civil Aviation General V K Singh (retd) on Thursday said, ANI reported.

The minister added that the proposed Digi Yatra Central Eco-system is planned to go live in March 2022. It is to be scaled up in a phased manner for adoption across various airports of the country, the report said.

On the safeguards taken by the government to prevent the leakage of passenger data, he said that as per the Digi Yatra policy, registering for the Digi Yatra Central Ecosystem is optional for passengers. For availing the Digi Yatra services, passengers will need to send the travel details (Pax details, PNR and Facial Bio metrics) through an app to the Bio metric Boarding System of the respective departing airport, the report said.

If for a particular journey, the passenger does not want to avail the Digi Yatra services then they have an option to not send the data and use the existing manual process at airports, the minister informed.

“The Digi Yatra Central Ecosystem envisages assessments (by independent teams to assess the level of security and system resilience to protect PII) and periodic audits by governing or regulatory bodies twice every year. Facial recognition is as per Industry ISO standards with best in class National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) listed algorithms complying to Data Privacy and Data protection requirement as laid down by government,” General V K Singh added.

Data shared by the passengers will be used for the purpose defined and would not be shared with any other external stakeholders, the minister said. Data shared by passengers will be retained during their transit at the airport and will not be retained for more than 24 hours after departure of the flight, he said.