Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 38

LEGAL MATTERS
AUTHOR Mark Dombroff

'Forward-Facing':

COULD FACIAL RECOGNITION TURN BACK THE
CLOCK ON THE U.S. AIRPORT EXPERIENCE?

IF YOU flew commercially prior to 9/11, you can
recall how different the experience used to be. You
could pull up to the airport 15 minutes before the
flight, speed-walk to the gate, flash your boarding
pass and take your seat on the plane.
If your heart was racing, you saw it
as a consequence of your own tardiness-
not fear of terrorism or outrage over the
sluggish pace of the security line. By
contrast, the post-9/11 "new normal"
is one in which travelers feel compelled
to get to the airport two or three hours
early. They expect major and minor
stresses alike, everything from unruly
passengers shouting at gate attendants,
to the awkwardness of holding up your
pants while your belt sits in a plastic box
on a conveyer.
Fortunately for airport operators,
some encouraging signs suggest that this
state of affairs could change. An optimist
might even wonder whether a trip to
the airport in 2029 will feel a bit like a
throwback to 1999. Chalk it up to rapid
advances in biometric ID technologies as
well as the evolution of highly efficient
approaches to passenger pre-check.
One technology in particular-facialrecognition scanning-could be a game-

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MARK DOMBROFF

Veteran aviation attorney Mark A.
Dombroff is an Alexandria, Va.-based
member of LeClairRyan and co-leader of
the national law firm's aviation industry
practice; mark.dombroff@leclairryan.com.

changer. But as our society adjusts to what
can seem, at least to some, like an invasive
change, the aviation industry will need to
handle the onboarding of this technology
with care and sensitivity.

Hints of a Brighter
Future
Government off icials and aviation
professionals have been working for
years to break up the logjams at airport
security checkpoints. Launched a decade
after 9/11, TSA PreCheck has spread
to at least 200 airports and 67 airlines.
The program allows low-risk domestic
travelers to move through security with
minimal disruption, reportedly with
wait times of less than five minutes on
average. In addition to forking over
an $85 enrollment fee, TSA PreCheck
travelers must undergo fingerprinting
and submit to an in-person interview.
Meanwhile, the newer, privately
administered CLEAR program is now
up and running at more than 45 airports.
It marks a further advance in futuristic
security screening. With its slogan
"You're the perfect person to verify your
identity," CLEAR relies on fingertip and
retinal scans to rapidly ID travelers. They
pay a $15 monthly fee to zip to the head
of security lines.
Airports across the globe are also
investing in facial-recognition systems
that promise to, in essence, transform

38 \ AIRPORTBUSINESS / JUNE/JULY 2019

the entire terminal into an always-on
security checkpoint. Encino, Californiabased startup FaceFirst (the author has
no relationship to this company) bills its
Guardian system as a way to "radically
reduce friction, from curbside check-in
to boarding the plane." In promotional
materials, FaceFirst contends that its
AI-driven system, which works in
tandem with surveillance cameras, is
vastly superior to approaches that rely
on humans to spot bad guys. "Guardian
compares millions of images per second,"
the company claims, "helping to identify
travelers in checkpoints against a vast
image database." According to FaceFirst,
at Panama's Tocumen International
Airport, the Guardian system now
regularly identifies fugitives wanted by
INTERPOL. In addition to known
terrorists, the company says the faces
of luggage thieves, shoplifters, childabductors and the like can be flagged in
the system.
Meanwhile, more airports and
airlines are sending digital images of
passengers' faces for crosschecking
against biometric profiles in a database
maintained by the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS).

An Increasingly Vocal
Opposition
The challenge here is that facial
recognition clearly spooks some
Americans. Over the past few months,
vocal critics of these systems appear to
have gained ground. At the time of this
writing, San Francisco was poised to
become the first major American city to
ban government use of the technology.
Meanwhile, the Bay Area cities Oakland



Airport_Business_June-July_2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Airport_Business_June-July_2019

Inside the Fence
Industry Update
A Forward Look Into the Past
The Rise of Secondary Airports
Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Find Success in Fuel Training
A Stream of New Revenue Management
Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport Guru
Legal Matters
Product Focus
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 1
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 2
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 3
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 4
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 5
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Inside the Fence
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 7
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Industry Update
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 9
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Forward Look Into the Past
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 11
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 12
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 13
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - The Rise of Secondary Airports
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 15
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Not Your Parents' Boarding Bridge
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 17
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 18
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 19
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 20
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 21
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 22
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 23
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 24
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 25
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Find Success in Fuel Training
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 27
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 28
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 29
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - A Stream of New Revenue Management
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 31
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 32
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 33
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Media Relations After an Accident: Are You Ready?
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 35
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Airport Guru
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 37
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Legal Matters
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 39
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - Product Focus
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 41
Airport_Business_June-July_2019 - 42
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