facial recognition kiosks

Facial recognition kiosks: The newest technological development in kiosk manufacturing.

It’s a sure sign that your vacation is coming to an end. That moment when the flight attendant walks down the aisle of the plane, handing out declaration forms, as passengers scramble to find a pen. But the days of the paper form are numbered.

Passengers arriving on international flights to the Ottawa airport are encouraged to use a self-serve facial recognition kiosks, called a primary inspection kiosk, to speed up and streamline the arrival process.

To verify a traveler’s identity, the new facial recognition kiosks will a take a photo and compare it to their passport picture.

Travelers can either complete an on-screen declaration at the kiosk or use the newly launched mobile app. Once downloaded, travelers can use it in airplane mode, allowing them to fill it out before they land. They will then scan their phone at a kiosk before continuing on to baggage claim.

Passengers waiting at baggage claim on Sunday applauded the facial recognition kiosks and said that they approve of any process that would cut down their wait time.

The CBSA says their new app will cut processing time at a primary inspection kiosk by half.

NEXUS members will not be able to use the app, but still continue to use the NEXUS kiosks.

“I was just in Cuba last week and there’s a lot of lineup. There’s a long bus ride, there’s a lineup to check in, there’s a lineup for security, then you’re on the flight for a while. Then finally you land and then you have to wait in line again for another hour to get through. So, if it would speed up that process, I think it would be a  idea,” Tamra Segall said.

“If you hit the sun vacationers and such it can be over an hour wait to get through customs. Overall, not too bad, but anything that would speed it up…all for it,” Chuck Albert added.

Security concerns

But Customs and Immigration Union president Jean-Pierre Fortin, who represents 10,000 frontline customs and border agents, wonders why, in 2017, the government is taking humans out of the equation.

He says his officers get 18 weeks of intensive training.

“They’re looking for tons of things: your attitude in general, are you nervous…It’s a bunch of factors that machines will never be able to detect,” he said.

“They develop these skills actually to make sure that they’re stopping the people that they think there’s something wrong with.”

On its website, the border agency says the facial recognition kiosks are secure and only store non-sensitive information.

But that’s not enough for everyone.

Ian Kerr, Canada research chair in ethics, technology and law at the University of Ottawa, told CBC Radio’s All in a Day the kiosks could be outfitted with sensors that function like a lie detector or be programmed with algorithms to assess whether a traveller is a potential risk.

“We have to think really carefully before we implement [technologies like this] because they can ultimately be used for things beyond the purposes that they started being used,” Kerr said.