Dubai Airport, the busiest for international travel, is already famous for its services. Now a feature has been added to it that seems no less than science fiction. Here iris-scanners have been installed for identity verification on arrival and departure in the country. This contactless technology is being promoted to reduce human-to-human interaction between the coronavirus epidemic and to make advanced use of artificial intelligence. This service has been launched last month. Now, in a few seconds, the passengers are freed after completing the passport control work.
Few seconds of work
Iris data is combined with the country’s Facial Recognition Database so that travelers do not even need an identity card or boarding pass. Integration of data is done in collaboration between Emirates and Dubai immigration officials and is all in one go, from check-in to boarding. According to Emirates ‘biometric privacy statement, airline passengers’ faces are paired with their personal identification data, including passport and flight information, and this data is kept for as long as needed.
Surveillance or not?
Discussion on surveillance has also started regarding this technique. The United Arab Emirates has been accused of targeting journalists and human rights activists. In such a way, privacy is being threatened by data collection. Emirates has not given much information about how to store and use data in its statement but has stated that data other than the face can be used in other systems of Emirates. At the same time, Major General Obaid Mahler bin Suroor, deputy director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, says that Dubai’s immigration office keeps the personal data of travelers safe so that no third party can see it.
Do not misuse
Experts suspect the use of biometric technology and misuse of storage. Jonathan Frankel, an artificial intelligence student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says surveillance technology is feared no matter where it is in the country. However, in a democratic country, there would be transparency, at least a chance for public discussion. Iris scans have been in circulation in recent years in many countries. Prior to this there has been much controversy over the accuracy of facial recognition and use without permission.