Biometric ID For Travel Goes Global With New CBP Tourism Partnership

Monday, November 5, 2018
By Paul Martin

By Nicholas West
NOVEMBER 5, 2018

Biometric identification has quietly rolled out at several U.S. airports and various locations around the world. In some cases, it has been sprung upon the general traveling public without warning, leaving some to question how optional this will be as travelers become acclimatized to the new boarding process.

According to a new announcement from the World Travel & Tourism Council, it appears that the roll out is set to accelerate and begin a much louder PR push to prepare the public for a new world of integrated biometrics for every phase of travel. A new public-private partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seems to widen the scope of the U.S. government mandate that is 15 years in the making to require biometric ID.

Private companies already have been enlisted by CBP to integrate their systems into government databases for ID verification. As stated by Jim Peters, chief technology officer for SITA, one of the information technology companies working with airlines, they are looking for a “quick and easy roll out across U.S. airports.” He added that the goal is a system as “quick as a Google search for most passengers.”

Despite many privacy groups warning about the type of incremental “mission creep” we have seen across the spectrum of technological tracking and surveillance, the future of global air travel is clearly poised to become even more invasive. This latest press release is the clearest admission to date about what travelers can expect “using biometric technology throughout the entire journey.” The mission creep is real: the use of biometrics will not only be for boarding, but as noted at the end will include everything from booking to car rental to hotel check-in. My emphasis added throughout.

U.S. CBP and WTTC join forces to increase security and positively transform the traveller experience

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the leaders of the global Travel & Tourism private sector, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have begun working together through a public-private partnership to strengthen U.S. borders, increase security and improve the traveller experience through the entire journey by making travel more efficient and seamless for passengers with the use of technology.

Both WTTC and CBP are committed to the application of facial biometrics in the travel journey as a means of maximising security while ensuring legitimate tourists can visit the country to create jobs and drive economic growth.

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