Compelled to join DigiYatra at airports? Scindia explains in letter to TMC MP

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DigiYatra Face Biometrics Registration: Voluntary and Consent-Based Explains Civil Aviation Minister

It has been made clear by the Civil Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia, that passengers can volunteer for the DigiYatra program. One prerequisite for this is that they must give their consent before their biometric facial data can be registered at a kiosk.

This comes as a response to the concerns raised by TMC MP Saket Gokhale who highlighted in a letter to Scindia, numerous complaints from passengers who felt they were being forced to enrol for the DigiYatra transfer program at various Indian airports and without their consent, had their biometrics taken.

AIR TRAVEL: Concerning the DigiYatra Programme

In response to these concerns, Scindia has stated that the DigiYatra registration was designed to provide an easy, optional service for those traveling by air. The system described by him, mainly functions through a mobile app, where passenger data is securely stored on their personal device, thus eliminating unnecessary kiosk registrations.

“Kiosk-based registration on the day of travel is only made available for those passengers who may not have the mobile app but still wish to utilise the service,” he clarified.

Consent First: DigiYatra Protocol Stress on User Permission

Scindia also shed light on how passengers can be supported at airports by ‘Digi buddies’. He adamantly emphasized that passenger consent is a required step before any facial biometric data can be captured during kiosk-based registration.

He further reassured that any data collected during this process is automatically deleted from the airport system 24 hours after the departure of the flight. In fact, he addressed that airport operators have already been asked to ensure that Digi buddies are trained on this consent-taking process and keeping the use of DigiYatra entirely optional.

Data Privacy: A Welcome Step?

A copy of the response letter was shared with MP Saket Gokhale, who termed Scindia’s clarification a ‘welcome step’. However, he also asked passengers to contact him if they continue to face any issues regarding this.

DigiYatra Features: Contactless, Seamless Movements

To provide a perspective on the initiative, the DigiYatra programme facilitates a seamless and contactless passage for passengers through various checkpoints at airports using Facial Recognition Technology.

To utilise this service, a passenger has to register their details on the DigiYatra app using Aadhaar-based validation and a self-image capture. Following this, the boarding pass is scanned and the passenger’s travel details are shared with the airport.

At the airport’s e-gate, passengers must first scan their bar-coded boarding pass, upon which the facial recognition system at the e-gate validates their identity and travel document. Once validated, the passenger can enter the airport through the e-gate and follow the normal procedure for security clearance and boarding the aircraft.

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