Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Air France puts digital fingerprints in RFID boarding passes

I've often said that there's an unfortunate convergence of interests between travel companies' desires for business process automation and collection of marketing data, and governments' desires for surveillance and movement tracking and logging.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Air France's deployment this week, in operational beta testing, of a new passenger processing system involving boarding cards that contain an RFID chip with a digitized fingerprint, and optical fingerprint scanners in boarding gates.

Details at PapersPlease.org.

Keep in mind that Air France is part of the same corporation as KLM, the airline that told me they didn't know and had no responsibility for what their agents and contractors (including the travel agents they have appointed and explicitly authorized to conclude contracts of carriage on their behalf, the computerized reservation systems to which they have outsourced hosting of their customer databases, and their code-share "partner" Northwest Airlines) had done with personal information about flights operated by and ticketed in the name and flight numbers of KLM. Both Air France and KLM consider themselves leaders in RFID deployment.

On my last trip to Brussels and Paris, I flew on Air France instead of KLM, buying my ticket directly from the airline so they wouldn't have any of the excuses about agencies or other airlines that KLM used. I've been waiting for almost two months without an answer to my request to Air France for all their records of my trip. I've now written to the French data protection authority, CNIL , requesting them to assist me in getting an answer from Air France.

Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 18 March 2009, 20:14 ( 8:14 PM) | TrackBack (0)
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