Passengers can now identify which airlines use facial recognition with new tool

The new tool has sparked online campaign #getouttamyface

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer uses facial recognition technology in his booth at Miami International Airport to screen a traveler entering the United States on February 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida.  The facility is the first in the country that is dedicated to providing expedited passport screening via facial recognition technology, which verifies a traveler's identity by matching them to the document they are presenting.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Privacy activists in the US have launched a new tool to help passengers avoid airlines that use facial recognition technology.

New website AirlinePrivacy.com lists all airlines which use the technology to identify passengers before boarding, something that has raised many questions around privacy and data security.

The new site was unveiled by activist groups Fight for the Future, Demand Progress and CREDO on Wednesday, and has sparked online campaign #Getouttamyface.

Airline JetBlue started using the technology in partnership with federal agencies back in 2017, after US President Donald Trump issued an executive order pushing for facial recognition in US airports. British Airways, Delta and American Airlines have all incorporated the technology since then.

AirlinePrivacy.com also helps customers to book flights directly with airlines that do not use facial recognition. Since the website launched, there have been a number of Tweets calling out the airlines using the #Getouttamyface.

Airlines using the technology say they do not store passengers’ data themselves, but the information is then shared with federal authorities, which stores exit records for 75 years for non-US residents and 15 years for residents. However, the US Customs and Border Protection say photos are only kept for 12 hours.

“CBP is committed to protecting the privacy of all travelers and has issued several privacy impact assessments related to entry/exit, employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the transaction,” a spokesperson said.

Passengers are however able to opt-out of facial recognition if they choose, as biometric boarding programs are not an official security requirement.