For a seamless, fast, and efficient travel experience India is set to use a facial recognition technology-based app called Digi Yatra at its airports. Currently launched in 4 cities Bengaluru, Delhi, and Varanasi by March 2023, four more cities will be added: Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, and Vijayawada. For time being, it is only available for domestic passengers.
Through the app, travelers may pass through various checkpoints at the airports (entry point, check-in, boarding) through paperless processing using facial features to establish their identity which could be linked to the boarding pass. This technology has reduced boarding time per aircraft to just 9 minutes in airports like Atlanta, the same results are expected by the Civil Aviation Ministry in India.
Travelers can use it by downloading the app and registering via Aadhar ID. There is no central storage of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). The passenger’s ID and travel credentials are stored in a secure wallet on the passenger’s smartphone itself.
Amid concerns in certain quarters about data theft and privacy issues, Civil Aviation Minister Scindia said, “First, we thought of a centralized system that would house all the data but then issues of privacy, data theft, rightfully came up. So, we moved to a decentralized system which would house the passenger information.. on the mobile phones of every single passenger.”
“We have moved to a decentralized system and your data is going to be in an encrypted format and it is going to be residing only in your (passenger) mobile phone… 24 hours after your travel, that data is mandatorily going to be purged from the servers at that airport. The data you upload gets completely wiped out in 24 hours even though it is protected by blockchain technology,” the minister said.