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Facial recognition at airports optional, data will not be shared with anyone: Ministry of Civil Aviation

Passengers who do not want to avail the Digi Yatra services will be given a choice, the Ministry assured Parliament.

As the Indian government works on introducing facial recognition in airports in the country, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, while responding to a question in the Lok Sabha, clarified that passengers will have the option to opt out of the surveillance system. Gen (retd) VK Singh, Minister of State in the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that as part of the 1st phase of Digi Yatra, the facial recognition technology-based biometric boarding system was being introduced at four domestic airports including Varanasi, Pune, Kolkata, and Vijayawada. Those who opt out of the facial recognition-based boarding system can use the existing manual process at these particular airports. The government has been pushing to implement facial recognition technology at various locations including examination centres and railway stations. It is important to note that these programmes are being implemented when India does not have legislation in place to regulate the usage of personal data. An app will be used for capturing facial biometrics: Ministry of Civil Aviation For availing Digi Yatra services, a component of which is the facial recognition-based boarding system, one has to send their travel details including facial biometrics, PNR number, Pax details, and so on to an app, the minister said. This information will be received by the biometric boarding system of the respective airport, Singh added in his response in the Parliament. Moreover, if for a particular journey, the passenger does not want to avail the Digi Yatra services then the passenger has an option to not send the…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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