The role of biometrics at border crossings, including but not limited to airports, has only grown in importance post-pandemic, a webinar panel presented by Future Travel Experience and Idemia told its audience. . Support for this claim is reflected in a new rollout in France and updates to membership-based biometric traveler systems operated by Clear and Star Alliance.
‘Next Generation Border Entry with Biometrics’ examined the implementation of biometrics throughout the traveler’s border crossing experience.
Larry Panetta, Director of Biometric Entry and Exit Transformation for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), presented the agency’s vision for future border entry based on facial biometrics and benefits of technology for all stakeholders. He noted the different applications it can support, the partnerships behind them, including with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and explained how the processes work, whether for departing cruise passengers or arriving flights.
The biometric identity verification process has reached all of the country’s air border entry points, Panetta says, and about 18% of departures, as well as more than 2,300 disembarked cruise ships and 157 pedestrian crossings. Biometrics has identified 1,434 imposters so far, according to the presentation.
Match rates range from 98% for marine systems, to 98.4% for pedestrians and 98.1% for air departures, to 99.3% for air entries, according to a CBP slide.
Panetta also reviewed privacy impact assessments and engagement with privacy advocates around the program.
Longer term, CBP’s vision is to be part of an ecosystem in which the presentation of physical identity documents is not a necessary or even normal part.
The lessons of early adoption
Miami Dade County Aviation Department’s Director of Information Systems and Telecommunications Maurice Jenkins outlined the use of biometrics at Miami Airport as a response to challenges faced by all airports. . Miami just faced them and responded with biometric deployments sooner than most due to its size, as one of America’s busiest airports.
Since the implementation of streamlined arrival in 2018, passenger processing has sped up significantly, with larger planes boarding in just 15 minutes. Customer surveys have also shown higher overall satisfaction. There was a learning process for implementing biometrics, and the airport authority focused on keeping the process simple to make it understandable to as many passengers as possible.
Jenkins discussed the use of mobile driving licenses with Idemia’s CAT 2 devices as part of the move towards better airport experiences for passengers.
He acknowledged a few mishaps along the way, but suggested they were an integral part of introducing any major system upgrade.
A hallway was flooded with bright sunlight that prevented the capture of images that the biometric system could match, in an example provided by Jenkins.
Idemia’s Lisa Sullivan noted that traveler numbers have returned to about the same level and are still expected to double from their previous peak in a generation.
Sullivan emphasized the importance of running pilots to make improvements to workflows or technology to make improvements to systems before they reach full production.
Discussions during the question and answer period focused on the privacy implications of biometric border systems, CBP’s relationship with the TSA as a service provider for services used by domestic travelers, such as filing of contactless bragging, and what airports and airport processes will look like in ten years. .
Bordeaux Airport has set up a passport control system based on facial biometrics, called PARAFE, for adult passengers.
The airport says the system includes seven steps, from approaching the gate and scanning passports to face verification. The system also allows a single border control officer to process five passengers simultaneously.
The PARAFE system can be used by eligible travelers on international and Schengen region flights.
Subscription services increase
Clear is offering a “couples package,” spotted by Condé Nast Traveler, with a pair of biometric ID accounts for $239 instead of the roughly $249 they would normally have purchased with a $189 individual account and a member of the additional family. The package is also specially designed for giveaways and represents the company’s latest move to increase its impressive number of subscriptions.
Star Alliance has now enrolled more than 60,000 frequent flyers for its biometric program, CEO Jeffrey Goh told Simple Flying.
The program was launched with unfortunate timing in the context of the pandemic, going live in November 2020. It now extends both to different airports and to different touchpoints in each airport.
airports | biometrics | border security | CBP | DELETE | contactless | facial biometrics | IDEMIA | identity verification | passenger processing | travel and tourism | CST