After the controversial cancellation of NAIM, the government of Mexico inaugurated the Felipe Angeles International Airport (AIFA), the axis of its strategy to put an end to the saturation of flights in the Valley of Mexico.
One of the features of the new Santa Lucia terminal is the use of facial recognition and the collection of biometric data to facilitate documentation and boarding.
AIFA raises a fully automated boarding experience, from check-in to take-off. For it will integrate a biometric system at the gates and counters of the airportas well as in an application for mobile devices.
Users will be able to download the application, take a photo and document themselves before their arrival at AIFA. Once at the airport, they will go to the kiosks or the airline counter in case of checked baggage. Elderly people or those unfamiliar with technology will benefit from the support of airline and airport staff.
Although the biometric data system at the entrances would increase operational efficiency, its use represents a risk to passenger privacy and safety. The government and the secretary of national defense (Sedena) they did not detail the protective measures to information.
AIFA is required to inform passengers about the use it will make of their biometric data
According to Sedena, the biometric registry envisions passenger consent, scanning the passport, taking a photograph and creating a digital registry. The picture of our face is associated with the boarding passalthough the time they will be stored in the AIFA database is unknown.
Josefina Román, commissioner of the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI), says that the airport is required to create a privacy notice which details the use of biometric data and the time for which it will be protected.
The ideal would be to erase (the data) immediately. If the privacy notice says “Do you prefer it to be retained if you are going to be a frequent user?”, it should be stated here. This is why it is very important to work on these documents, as well as on the impact analysis, as well as on the privacy notice.
Josefina Román, commissioner of the INAI
In an interview with Expansionthe commissioner of INAI said that the biometric system of calls e-Gates must operate in compliance with the rules of transparency and data protection staff.
At the time of publication, there is no privacy notice and the AIFA website shows a database error.
Automation in exchange for your information
Sedena and President Andres Manuel López Obrador’s speech focused on automation. The government try to solve the AIFA distance with a reduced time in the documentation before boarding.
Federal officials and personnel from the Apollocom company — responsible for installing the biometric equipment — are anticipating profits during the registration contactless and paperless. General Gustavo Ricardo Vallejo Suárez, key member of AIFA, mentioned in the Morning that the airport is adapted to the technological needs of a post-pandemic world.
Although facial recognition results in a better experience, the use of biometric data is not the solution for AIFA. The government of Mexico tends to minimize claims to the protection of personal data and for example, the controversial national register of mobile phone users is enough.
A year ago, the Mexican Senate approved a decision to collect biometric data when buying a mobile phone. The measure caused a stir, the injunctions arrived and the INAI decided to challenge the decree before the Supreme Court. In response, President López Obrador accused the judges and said that it was all about manipulation.
Mexico does not have mechanisms to protect our personal data
The recording of biometric data represents a security risk, since it cannot be fully guaranteed that your information will be protected. AIFA is not only required to inform users, but also to put in place additional measures to prevent a massive leak.
Mexico should analyze the case of Biostar 2, a facial recognition system, which suffered a security breach in 2019. According to Guardianthe researchers accessed an unencrypted database containing sensitive information on more than a million people.
The use of facial recognition is also a threat to privacy and the freedom to travel. The government and some security experts mention that biometric systems can help identify criminals or imposters. What is certain is that this technology has many flaws and misidentification could lead to wrongful arrests.
Perhaps the best alternative would be to create an efficient transport system to the AIFA with a free connection to the AICM. Arriving two hours early is safer than finding out that your data is being sold for 500 pesos at Tepito.