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'So Overboard It Should Be Illegal': Use of Facial Recognition in Airports Draws Anger

A boarding technology for travelers using JetBlue is causing controversy due to a social media thread on the airline's use of facial recognition. Last week, traveler MacKenzie Fegan described her experience with the biometric technology in a social media post that got the attention of JetBlue's official Twitter account. ( More...

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AWAAlum 19
JL Sud - Since you've just joined this website, I'd like to help you out by explaining its purpose. Most who gather here are connected in some way with aerospace and we like to share insights, experiences and theories concerning events occurring in the industry. What it isn't, is people joining to rid themselves of their teenage angst and rather than sharing knowledge and expertise, appear to get pleasure from demeaning comments, hurling childish insults and assuming they are superior to other's comments. That sort of thing isn't received very well. Just trying to help out and make your experience here a positive one.
sparkie624 6
Not a good technology... If companies and/or the government has access to it, they will abuse it.
Ken Jackson 3
Hey tech geeks. The question is not about what is possible. The question is about consent. Some may not want to be digitized and may reasonably expect to NOT being opted in.
lynx318 -1
If this is working then it means your government already has your face ID, maybe take it up with your senator about why your consent was not given? Me, I'm just glad another extreme level of hardness against terrorism is in place.
s2v8377 9
I'm glad I'm not the only one who wants no part of this technology!!!
w2bsa 7
Frankly, I’m more worried about the systems being hacked. The data in the database contains everything needed to identify you and could be used for all manner of illegal deeds. Nobody can tell me that it cannot be hacked.

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Daryl Frey 2
Did you get your enhanced drivers license (ID) yet.
Larry Horton 2
Used facial recognition in one of the European airports. Is it legal? You don't want it? Sorry folks that ship sailed a long time ago. When we decided that "if you got nothing to hide you should not care" was the way we should live our lives we gave governments all over the world permission to violate our privacy. And one thing for sure, once you allow a government to take one of your rights they never give it back.
bobinson66 2
I do not work in the aerospace or aviation industry although I find it very interesting. That's why I like this site. I work in the casino industry. Every single medium sized and large casino in existence is using facial recognition on everyone who walks in the door. In most states, gaming laws require casinos to be on lookout for people who have registered as problem gamblers. These are people who have put themselves on a government list that requires any casino in the state to prevent them from gambling. In a large scale casino, the only way to accomplish this is with computerized help. Also, they use it for security.
Steve Ortiz 2
I laugh when I read about people complaining they did not give consent, nor would they ever give permission for the "government" to have such details on them. 40 years ago (circa 1983), I moved into my first apartment right out of college. There I met a neighbor who ran the local DMV office. He gave me a short tour that included a look at their computers. All our DMV info was already digitized at that point, and had been for years. This included our Photo's, SS#, Date of birth, address, Car registration info, Car insurance info, and our biological info (Race, Skin Color, Hair color, Organ donor info, eye color, etc.). Digitizing our info was a necessary part of getting a Drivers License. I have since moved to the South and even here (last seen in 2010) the DMV is taking Digital photos for use in our drivers licenses. The government has had your info digitized a long time and in government databases (if you are under 50) since you were born. Read the fine print in your phone apps, you are blindly HANDING over all your info (including location, phone info, etc) to big companies like Google, and Amazon everytime you consent to using their apps. Oh, and who wrote the core tracking modules of their apps? FACEBOOK!... So your info is inherently shared with facebook everytime you use an app - It doesn't matter what app, all to many use FB core modules in their apps. It is what makes most apps work. BTW- I taught computing courses in various colleges, since 1983. Giving legal consent to give up your info is as easy as using an app or getting a service like applying for a Drivers license. In other words, you gave your consent Years ago to giving ("sharing"-?) your info LONG ago in what you thought was only for a benign transaction.
lynx318 1
Thumbs up emoji if we could have used them here.
WhiteKnight77 2
I wonder how she feels about license plate readers on patrol cars that she drives by?
Anthony Izzo 6
So what? Airports all over the world use this tech, you just don't realize it. This instance is just more blatant.
AWAAlum 5
Our civil rights are disappearing bit by bit.
We're like frogs in water, slowly heated to a boil ...
Pete Schecter -1
what civil right does biometrics take away from you? Please enlighten me
jhakunti 0
it doesn't. just a boatload of paranoids with grandeurs of delusion who feel like they have something special that someone somehwere is pinning for. a way to feel righteous and important. funny thing is the government probably could and does employ such technology without them knowing it. forums like these are a litmus to see how well the public would receive knowing so.
in todays world of ever changing new technology,and the importance of security concerns which were not as big an issue in years past,people should expect upgrades in identification of travelers at airports or train stations or the are taken of you for your drivers license,your passport,or your i.d. to work in a whole lot of businesses apart from government or state..your computer offers you a facial recognition feature, as do various cell phones..banks have cameras to photograph you as do department stores and places like Walmart and target..toll plazas photograph your vehicle,plates,and sometimes your face,and even doctors office now take your photo when you initially check in with them..this is the new normal for everyone,and things will probably not go back to the "old" ways of doing can accept it and go on with your business,or you can never go out into the real world!

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mike ronan 3
If one disagrees with photos being taken, they should avoid entering shopping malls, train stations, subways,sports stadia, convenience stores, banks, or going anywhere in the city of London. One must also avoid getting a driver's licence, health card, Costco card, or passport. This is just the new reality. Privacy cannot be expected. (p.s. ...The ALCU is generally wrong on everything).
sparkie624 13
I have no problems with Camera's.... I have problems with companies and the government using Facial Recognition software... If a camera scans my face, then knows my name and history then that is a problem. This system they are using will grant way too much information to a company.
Stefan Sobol 3
But yet you'd gladly hand them something with your picture on it. What's the real difference?
strickerje 11
The difference is that, when you show your ID to a person and they check your picture and name against your boarding pass, that’s all they’re checking, and they don’t remember you 5 minutes later. The software, however, has access to everything about you, and retains every bit of data about you indefinitely.
Stefan Sobol 2
In the US, you scan your passport picture page into the ticket kiosk when you check in for your flight. Same difference.

Any country you enter (that I can think of) scans the same page when you enter or leave that country.

You don't think the airline doesn't know pretty much everything about you the moment you check in for a flight?

I called UA today about a flight change and the automated system greeted me by name.
Highflyer1950 1
True, but the comparison at the gate is to make sure you are the one in the picture and that matches the fingerprints /retina scan on file. I’ll bet that airport kiosk has already taken your picture while you are putting in your passport!
lynx318 0
Not sure how this gives out too much information, all it's doing is giving the company a way of asking the government 'Is this person Joe Citizen?', to which the answer is yes or no. If no then that person can be detained for questioning or if a person of 'known concern' immediately arrested by security/police. Safety is the concern, I'm for it.

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Chris B 5
Well said.
Look at all the "Real ID" drivers licenses you need to fly.
Passports with picture and chips.
Use of FB and other social media where you put up your image.
Every time you go to the mall, a store etc, they take your photo.
Driving your tag is checked every time you use a tollbooth.
Your smart phone tells many companies where you are located at any time of day.
And you consent to all of them.
lynx318 1
Best reply here yet, Facial Rec. is only telling them you boarded this plane. More information is given talking the guff people do on FB, far more revealing info.
AWAAlum 0
One may disagree, I do, but realistically it's just another thing we have to succumb to. Do you really agree? Do you really think it's A-Okay? You know, next they'll demand our DNA.
TERRY Smith 1
The people who protest against this technology are the same ones who, in the event of a terrorist attack on themselves, will sue the airline/government for failing to use all possible means to prevent an act of terrorism.
ken young 1
this is they way things are going .
Jim Willis 1
Canada is doing facial recognition -
Pete Schecter 1
This is an example of emerging technology being used for dual purposes: one part for regulatory compliance (government mandated positive passenger match) and one part for customer convenience and a faster boarding process. Before you go nuts about your privacy, realize that by the time you have reached an airport gate, you have likely been viewed by MANY video cameras, owned by the airlines, the airport, TSA/CBP, and the police authority having jursidiction there. Facial recognition is now common on smart phones, ATM's and other point of sale devices, what is really the difference? You can ALWAYS opt out of the jet blue biometrics boarding process and go to the podium. Facial recognition at customs and border crossings and other countries are NOT optional; currently when entring the US most of the work is done by facial recognition/biometrics capture kiosks to speed the process. Same with many asian countries.

Much ado about nothing?
Allan Bowman 1
Orwells 1984 was slightly early, It is here now. Enjoy what you have built America. Information privacy? laughable, fuggedaboudit.
cowboybob 1
Minority Report
Allan Fromm 1
At least with Delta, when you fly from Detroit to Europe a camera compares some aspects of your face with your passport picture. A brilliant idea really. Why would anyone care? It's not taking your picture to post on Facebook. Who doesn't want a safe and secure country to live in.
john kilcher 1
Facial recognition before boarding an aircraft is not that new. We flew Aer Lingus in march of 2017, and upon returning home, we experienced it before boarding our flight out of Dublin. Like it or not, it is here for good. Now id I just didn't have to take off my shoes.....
Kelly W 1
Its the gov that has the photos, not JBLU. The gov is matching your face to the one of the thousands they have on record already for you. It's coming for everything so get used to it or don't travel. And get off social media too while your at it.
lynx318 2
Exactly, people forget this is just an advance on photo ID, where did the government get your facial data? Well you all line up for a photo for drivers licence, passport, etc...
Adi Rabadi 1
Not sure what the big deal is. You walk down the street and there are hundreds of cameras recording you - without your consent. Someone could look at the video footage and recognize you. Everyone in the airport can see you and 'recognize' you.

If a computer does the recognition - what is the difference.
Jerry Olson 2
Hey it's what they can do with the data, who has access and how it could be used.
matt jensen 1
FB has a program developed in 2017 that matches posted photos with govt inquiry. The technology was developed in 1965 - it's hardly new. Ybor City (part of Tampa, Fl) used this tech in the late 90s to ID trouble makers.
Ken Bravogel -1
Oh right those "trouble makers" like Paul Revere or Eric Snowden
yatesd 1
Snowden is a criminal. Revere is the patriot.
Seth Anderson -2
Pepe 2020!!!
William Jones 1
If you do not like the processes used to verify identity and keep people who want to harm others off the planes then drive! Stop complaining about everything and drive. Or stay home.
Bob Keeping 0
You bought the lie - and sold your freedom as the price. This does NOT keep terrorists out
lynx318 1
If you aren't guilty of anything, or on a watch list, what's the big deal? It's only the next tech step up from outdated passport photos.
Pedro Don 1
What harm these new identification technologies can cause for you in your everyday (and entire) life if you are a 100% law abiding citizen?...
Again: 100% law abiding. Not 95%, or 98,5%...


Are you asking that how an Earth one can be a 100% law abiding citizen?

Trust me... anyone can be that. And the life that way is not even boring. Try it!
I direct your attention to Turkey. A European country, a NATO member, a republic, secular and supposedly democratic state. It is now run by a tyrant who has redefined the boundaries of the law to imprison his political opponents and cement his power. It is for all intents and purposes, Turkey is now a dictatorship.

Is the law allowing facial recognition bad? I don't know. But be cautious of viewing the law a universally good. Your liberty may one day hinge on you or others breaking it.
Pedro Don 1
Just for the accurate record: Turkey is a half European country. The Asian influence is equally strong there. Quite a funny blend, though...

And I was talking about decent, correctly managed countries, not Third World countries where other problems exist. Third World countries barely use state-of-the-art identification technologies.

Back to the developed West: if your leaders are rubbish, stand up for your rights, raise your voice and do something about it. Or if you cannot, you are still free to move to another country. Just because your leaders are non-law abiding people, it still does not authorize you to break the law.
When you are charged for breaking any law, the court does not analyze whether the law is right, or not. If it is in place, you are obliged to abide it. Period. In other words - back to my original theory -, if you want to be a 100% law abiding citizen, you can manage that. Just avoid confusing situations.
Allan Bowman 4
Well Pedro, you are automatically assuming that the technology is 100% accurate. Just wait until you are arrested incorrectly based on an image. Good luck with that and I hope you enjoy your incarceration and legal fees.
Pedro Don 2
No, I do not. Never said that technologies are automatically perfect. Cross checking measures, though, must be 100% accurate, based on the fact that one single measure is never an accurate measure. But it is already the use of multiple technologies, not just one.
(One diagnosis is not a diagnosis. Always ask a second, or third doctor. You have heard that, have not you.)

To be honest, there are multiple reasons why I do not travel to the US but it would be way off-topic to talk about it. I just do not, so JetBlue or other low budget US carriers (and their practices) do not really annoy me. Other countries?... Well... just arrest me and you will soon apologize. Nothing really I can do about it.

Thanks guys for your responses. :)
48phil 0
It makes running the gauntlet through immigration and customs so much quicker and easier. People are happy for facebook 🤮 to have your face on record but when running security for a country, we cant. Sometimes i wonder at the mentality of people
Highflyer1950 0
I guess the camera can see right through the religious garb covering the faces of our foreign visitors and citizens?
I've seen plenty of American muslims wearing habits etc. There's even 1 in Congress!
Highflyer1950 5
Nothing wrong with an Abaya or Burka as long as the individual removes the face covering as required by TSA. At the boarding gate the agent has no such equipment, so again remove the covering for positive ID using passport photo. I think another poster has it correct about the concern with gov/contractors having this info as it leads to misuse.
Bill Waters -4
What you would rather have another 911. Put on your big girl panties and take your seat!
strickerje 5
Those aren’t the only two choices. We can maintain a reasonable level of security without completely disregard civil rights.
lynx318 -1
While your at it, burn all your photo ID's, drivers licence, passport, etc It's an ID system for your safety, or are you of interest to law enforcement?
ian mcdonell -4
Why is anyone worried about this technology - unless you have some reason to be worried?
jbqwik 14
Yours is a common response. I like it and use it too. However, it's not nearly that simple.
There are two things we need to consider when discussing this issue. One is the hypocritical nature of the human intellect. The second has to do with civil liberties.
Both can be touchy subjects. So rather than get into a long back-and-fourth on civil liberty, I'll simply propose a fictional scenario: .... If the British had wanted to 'face detect' in Boston in year 1775 there would have been a Redcoat on every street corner. In fact, there were! That was way too intrusive into Colonial lives and was part of the mistrust that led to the rebellion.
Fast Forward: Today, we can face detect in far less obvious ways. The question is does that make it any less intrusive?
The Constitution, at its core, is a remarkably insightful document that is all about checks and balances. Checks and balances... We don't want to keep forgetting the reasons for the Minutemen, or keep minimizing scenarios of heavy handedness. Checks and balances. We have to be adult and realistic enough to stop and think about things.
As for Reason One -the hypocritical factor- that's impossible to discuss on this forum; people can think what they want to about that.
The bottom line for me is that I'm wary (then again, I don't do Facebook, so you can't go by me). I'm a little concerned about the technology but I also feel that the world is becoming increasingly polarized and critical, and fanatical elements have to be aggressively supervised.
I will give you an upvote on the content of your remarks but civilly disagree with you on civil liberties.

Man, mostly US Citizens, have created a society where we need the powers to detect and eventually apprehend those that wish to do us harm. My full-time job may be in the Aviation Community but as a Reserve LEO, I need every tool available to arrest, prosecute and send to jail those responsible for causing harm to others or society as a whole.
Surely its the court to decide and send to jail?
paul gilpin 3
a FISA court?
I might add, my dad was a full-time cop and during his 30 years carried days I need to carry heavier weapons systems since most of those doing society harm carry much more powerful weapons. FR, FLIR (in our Helo's,) SWAT, Tactical Teams, Surveillance Camera's etc....are all products which had to be brought about mostly due man not being able to "police" themselves. How many times have I rolled to the scene of a murder with 50 witnesses only to be told: "we saw nothing." Well, the camera's we are so worried about caught the bad guy which allowed me to affect an arrest and put him/her behind bars.

People do not like our DUI checkpoints and I have to agree it has become somewhat Orwellian in nature but what is the alternative...dead innocent citizens due to more impairment driving? Everyone agrees driving with alcohol is bad, but then they ignore the drug impairment and now medical marijuana issues. Last 6 arrest I have made were related to drugs and MM not alcohol.
Mike Petro 2
My solution for the DUI problem is make the penalties so heavy (like they do in many other countries) and to make room for all of the drunk drivers, stop putting people in prison for recreational use of drugs that result in far less harm to others.
WhiteKnight77 1
Would that include arresting and convicting those of SWI (stoned while driving) as well? I really don't care if people drink, I do, but I do not want to work with drunk or stoned people (and I have worked at places where even contractors have to pass random breathalizer tests to enter the place you are working and have seen people fail and get fired on the spot due to being drunk or stoned).
Mike Petro 2
In my opinion, drunk driving is far more common and dangerous than driving while stoned. You read about drunks who have been convicted numerous times for drunk driving eventually killing some innocent people. Not so much for stoners. The first penalty for drunk driving should be so stiff that people will think long and hard about how much alcohol they consume before getting behind the wheel. I won't have more than one beer before I drive; however I'm probably the exception to the norm.

In my opinion most people are relatively crappy drivers even when they're stone-cold sober. I realize that most people think that they're better drivers than they actually are, but as someone who has driven more than 40K miles/year for a long time, I know that they are not by how they behave.
jbqwik 2
<totally completely waaay off-topic ahead>: R Orgill, my fav handgun is the Browning HiPower in 40 S&W, followed closely by the almost unknown .22 AutoMag - which is deadly accurate and a blast to shoot.
paul gilpin 2
so you don't have a problem with me borrowing your data / image. as you have nothing to hide.
or the next day.
just be courteous to the LEOs when they knock on your door. i didn't do anything. really. so you have nothing to worry about.
Bob Keeping 0
Technology makes major errors every minute f the day - are you flying on a 737 Max today? Facial recognition software is terribly flawed - and you could EASILY be identified as a wanted felon or terrorist. The storm troops will descend on you - trusting the technology is correct. You could be easily injured - even killed by these heavily armed zealots - all based on flawed and ill advised invasions of privacy. No good can come from this.

Instead ask yourself why we let hundreds of un-vetted people cross the boarder EXVERY DAY. Many of them carry guns drugs and disease. Why are we powerless to stop this but we are victimizing people legally at airports?
lynx318 0
No good can come of this?....except if the guy in question is wired with a chest bomb of C4. Relax, your borders will be safe once the Russia backed president finishes the wall.
Hello behind-the-times peoples of The US. The rest of the world seemingly using the advanced knowledge emitting from your scientific inventions to go forward in the world while you linger in the shadows behind lawsuits anchoring your advancement in the real world.
Hello, what was your GDP this past year again?
ea ??
Bob Keeping 1
This person is not bright enough to understand your comment
jhakunti -1
Some people need something to be dissatisfied with, something to be angry at, something to deliver hate towards. I guess it is better that such an object be advancing technology, abstract theory, and what if scenarios than a group, race, or certain individuals. It feeds the ego because they are so important and have so much value that somebody somewhere is just itching for "THEIR" private information

Ironically, these same people moaning that it will be hacked and abused are the same ones who file taxes with online turbotax, post their daily life stories on facebook and instagram, and probably haven't noticed how their google searches or brick and mortar store visits end up as sponsored ads on their social media feed.

Face recognition is used at stop lights, police cars can scan yours to see if it is stolen and in some areas like Los Angeles cameras are on highways checking if you have auto insurance. Google can and does send certain searches to law enforcement. You have no rights--to privacy, that are not afforded to you by way of whatever mechanism feeds your ego and allays your insolent attitude. Someone stated earlier that this type of technology is always being used, this is just a more blatant case of that use. Perhaps this whole article is a litmus...
Jim Ryan -2
I would have less problem with this than I do with some TSA agent grabbing my groin
Bob Keeping 1
Take a viagra (or two) before checking in

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