"British Airways is introducing technology that will allow passengers to go through boarding gates at Heathrow using facial recognition."
Once again, this is about biometrics as a convenience technology, not as a security technology. If you been in a BA boarding queue recently, you’ll know how convenient it is to board using the QR code on your phone and how inconvenient it is to fumble around getting your passport out to show at the gate and how annoying it is to be in the line behind people who put the phone down to rummage around in a bag to find the passport and then have to mess around unlocking the phone again because it locked while they were rummaging. So: if BA can do the passport scan and face capture away from the boarding gate they can make for a much smoother boarding process. It helps if the boarding pass is real, of course.
"Britain on the Fiddle returned to our TV screens last night with more fraudsters trying to scam the British taxpayer."
The program, which was excellent by the way, included reports of ID fraud that I found fascinating, but also featured Mickey Pitt, an engaging cigarette smuggler who masterminded an operation that used fake boarding passes to get in and out of airports undetected. Perhaps we can fix that problem with the same technology.
"A digital facial scan of the customer is recorded when they travel through security, and when they arrive at the gate, their face is matched with this representation when they present their boarding pass – allowing them to board the aircraft."
I hope Terminal 5 will move to remote capture. Surely as an Executive Club member I should be able to have them capture a picture of my passport at home using Au10tix or similar and store it with my account so that next time I go to the airport I can breeze through the boarding process: they should get rid of the “priority” boarding line (which on many BA flights seems to include almost all passengers) and replace it with a mobile/biometric line.
Let’s analyse the problem. Breaking it down using Consult Hyperion’s three-domain identity model (3DID), we can see there are problems with
identifying the person travelling (we need to bind a passport);
authenticating that the boarding pass is in the hand of the correct person; and
authorising the person with the boarding pass to go through the gate on to the plane.
The way to do this is, in my opinion, is to create a digital identity for the purposes of travelling (the travel ID) and to bind this identity to a mundane identity by linking it to a specific passport. Then British Airways can bind this identity to my Executive Club by creating a BA virtual identity, Delta can create a Delta identity and so on. Now, when I make a booking, the booking is connected to my BA ID.
That BA ID could, of course, contain either my face (in the form of a biometric template) or it could contain some other biometric that is optimised for speed at convenience at the airport. Say fingervein, for example. That way, we could restructure the airport experience around technology instead of electronic simulations of paper.
Biometrics continue to advance in Japan with the news that Hitachi is teaming with Japanese issuer JCB to develop a biometric payment system based on its finger vein authentication technology that can be used as an alternative to cards and cash at the point of sale.
In this way, I can check in for the flight on my phone and then put my phone away. When I get to the airport, I go through security (at which point my face is checked against the passport photo in my BA ID) and then go to experience the Terminal 5 shopping experience. When it is time to board the plane, I put my finger into a scanner at the gate and off I go.