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More companies testing facial recognition

Biometric facial recognition may replace boarding passes
Posted at 4:19 PM, May 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 20:58:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diegans could soon be using just their faces to board a plane, a cruise ship or get into a rock concert.

It's because more companies are testing, or rolling out, the controversial facial recognition technology.

"Facial recognition is great if it works. If it doesn't, it produces problems," said Stephen Cobb, senior security researcher at ESET.

A Ticketmaster-owned company will soon test facial recognition to get people into events faster. In other words, a person could theoretically upload an image of their face onto an app, and then go right into the event without stopping for a ticket scan or, potentially, a security check.

Jet Blue rolled out the facial recognition technology last year, and Royal Caribbean cruises is starting to do the same.

"It sounds alright but it also sounds kind of weird to have your face in there," said Kathy Nagy, who used a mobile ticket to get into Wednesday's Padres game. "I think that having a ticket on your phone is just as fast as showing your face."

Cobb said there are many concerns over how companies will maintain and protect people's data, including even whether they have the capabilities to avoid breaches.

"I don't see any commercial roll out of facial recognition which is purely around efficiency," he said. "Frankly, I have doubts around efficiency of the technology at this point."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is already using facial recognition technology at Lindbergh Field to scan international arrivals.

The San Diego Police Department uses a mobile facial recognition device to confirm identities during certain arrests, such as when suspects won't provide their identity, or provide a false one.

Earlier this month, San Francisco banned government agencies, including the police, from using facial recognition.