Your face will become your boarding pass in India’s first digital system for air travellers - Digi Yatra. The system, which has made its debut at the Bengaluru airport, works on facial recognition, promises convenience because of smoother and faster movement at multiple checkpoints at airports and is a step closer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a digital India.
However, with great digital infrastructure and upgrades, there could come a greater threat to data protection. While the former minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha praised the Digi Yatra platform set up at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru on the micro blogging and social networking website Twitter, concerns were raised over the system being developed for surveillance by the government.
“Sir, Chinese (are) using this technology from (a) long time. This is another platform of surveillance... Using technology is good, it always looks progressive but reality is this is a system of surveillance," said a Twitter user Krishna Pratap Singh on the website.
Sinha was quick to respond and allayed these fears, saying that, “the system is fully GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant. All your flight information is purged as soon as the trip is over and no travel records are maintained". “Privacy protection is built in through GDPR compliance," Sinha added.
The minister also said the digital system will soon be rolled out across the country.
“To the best of my knowledge, India will be the first country in the world to have a national digital traveler system #DigiYatra. All our airports and airlines are collaborating to make this system happen for the benefit of their passengers. Proud to have worked on this," Sinha tweeted.
With the aim to enhance digital experience for air travellers, the ministry of civil aviation had launched the Digi Yatra platform along with industry stakeholders. The system, which will digitally process passengers at airports, will be based on facial recognition at multiple points such as the main entry gate, security gates and even the aircraft boarding gates. Digi Yatra facilitates paperless travel.