Delta Airlines announced Monday that it’s rolling out biometric entry at its line of airport lounges. With the press of two fingers, Delta members will be able to enter any of Delta’s 50 exclusive lounges for drinks, comfortably unaware of the encroaching dystopian biometric surveillance structure closing around travel.
Thanks to a partnership with Clear, a biometrics company offering a “frictionless travel experience,” privileged jet-setters can use their fingerprints to enter Delta Sky Clubs.
But, this veneer of comfort masks that biometrics are a form of surveillance hotly contested by privacy and civil liberties experts. For example, face recognition in airports is consistently less accurate on women and people of color, yet are asymmetrically applied against them as they travel. Clear uses finger and iris data, but Delta was the nation’s first to use face recognition to verify passports, again via autonomized self-service kiosks.
At a time when people should be more wary of biometrics, airports are carefully rebranding surveillance as a luxury item. But, as people become more comfortable with being poked, prodded, fingerprinted, and scanned as they travel, privacy is becoming a fast-evaporating luxury.
Please remember that you can’t change your biometrics (easily), so beware about leaving them in some database secured who knows how and shared with who knows who.