Rio-SP air bridge receives boarding by facial biometrics at the airport | Brazil

Starting this Tuesday (15), the Rio-SP airlift will have a surprise for passengers traveling between Santos Dumont (RJ) and Congonhas (SP) airports: they will be invited to test the facial recognition biometrics – the first in the world to be used for access to the onboard areas. The first tests of the 100% digital shipment were in March.

New facial biometric technology on the Rio-SP bridge (Image: Gustavo Rampini/Idemia)

Biometrics should make boarding pass obsolete

The novelty is part of the federal government project “Embarque + Seguro 100% Digital”. With biometrics, the passenger will no longer need to present a boarding pass or identification document. The end-to-end technology is the result of a partnership between the Ministries of Infrastructure and the Economy, together with Serpro – the IT arm of the federal government.

The facial biometrics technology has already been tested at other Brazilian airports, such as Florianópolis (SC), Salvador (BA) and Belo Horizonte (Confins, MG).

“It is the first time that tests are carried out simultaneously at two of our airports, thus establishing, also in an unprecedented way, a biometric air bridge between SP/RJ, which is the fifth busiest in the world”, says Marcelo Sampaio, the executive secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure, in a press release. “We are moving towards a totally safe biometric boarding at all airports in the country, completely eliminating the need to present any kind of documentation”, he added.

Gileno Barreto, president of Serpro, says that facial biometrics should speed up the movement of boarding at airports:

“Embarque + Seguro puts Brazil at the forefront of this move by the Federal Government towards the digital transformation of the country and combines biometric validation and data analysis, ensuring an accurate, agile and secure verification of the identity of passengers, who can thus travel with more comfort and tranquility. The solution complies with the General Data Protection Law (LGPD) and is premised on the security in the processing of personal data against improper or unauthorized use”

Facial biometrics will be tested with Azul passengers

Serpro’s statement says that the biometrics will be tested on Azul Linhas Aéreas passengers flying between Rio and São Paulo. The airline has already told the Techblog:  “The test is carried out with all airlines and has a test with Azul due to our close involvement with the project”.

The person, if willing to participate in the test, receives a message by cell phone requesting their CPF and a photo. An Azul attendant then performs the biometric registration of the passenger, comparing the data and the photo with federal government databases; and this is done using a Serpro app designed for verification.

From there, passengers are free to access the departure area and the plane, passing through biometric checkpoints that verify their identity through cameras.

Azul Linhas Aéreas Airplane (Image: Alexandro Dias/Flickr)

Azul Linhas Aéreas Airplane (Image: Alexandro Dias/Flickr)

The Ministry of Infrastructure hopes that the project will bring more security to Brazilian airports, because “facial recognition allows the precise identification of passengers”. From the collection of facial biometrics data, the government must measure reductions in queue time and access to departure lounges and aircraft, in addition to operating costs.

Facial recognition has obvious consequences for users’ privacy. The feature is already used in the daily lives of those who have more advanced smartphone models; and it is increasingly common to log in to devices and access services. Where will passenger data go? What will be done with this information network?

For now, the advisory of Infraero, the agency responsible for the administration of airports of the Ministry of Infrastructure, made it clear that Serpro developed the technology.

Azul Linhas Aéreas, which participates in the testing of biometrics, told the Techblog that the data are under the responsibility of the Federal Government.

Serpro has not yet positioned itself.

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