Wellington International Airport facial recognition

Occurred: October 2021

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According to Stuff, New Zealand's Wellington International Airport has been trialling a facial recognition system despite being warned not to by the country's Office of the Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand. 

Having started the trial in June, the airport is using the 'secretive' system to count how many passengers are passing through security, and how long they spend queuing.

The Privacy Commissioner argued the tool's impact on privacy outweighed its benefits, and could lead to use by other agencies, including law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

The Commissioner also criticised New Zealand's Aviation Security Service's decision not to issue a press release about the new technology, or to include information about it on the airport website.

Operator: Wellington International Airport
Developer: Aviation Security (Avsec)
Country: New Zealand
Sector: Transport/logistics
Purpose: Assess security queues
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Appropriateness/need; Dual/multi-use
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: October 2021
Last updated: January 2023