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Airport security fears could render device tracking useless

The Sunday Express has reported that amid fears of an Al Qaeda plot to blow up 5 planes over the Christmas period, a number of new airport security measures are being considered both in the UK and the US to reduce the threat.

The first is the banning of all hand luggage from all flights. The Sunday Express quoted a senior insider as saying, “We have many scares, but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines. The threat is still alive and real.”

Device Ban in Airport Cabin

The second security measure under consideration is the banning of all electronic devices from the airplane cabin, meaning that passengers will have to stow these devices in the hold, surrendering their devices at check-in.

armed-police-airportWhilst the security of passengers should remain the highest priority, such measures if implemented, would render device tracking useless. There are a number of high profile airports that use device tracking (either through Bluetooth, WiFi or a combination of both) to track passengers through the airport in order to identify potential bottlenecks, reduce queue times and improve the passenger experience.

Such systems rely on passengers carrying a Bluetooth or WiFi enabled device, which is then tracked through the airport. If all passengers are forced to surrender such devices at check-in to increase security and reduce the terrorist threat, then there is nothing left for the systems to track.

Both airports and airlines are likely to resist such moves, as leading terrorism expert Dr Sally Leivesley explained, “Efforts to ban all electronic devices including computers from business class passengers which reaps huge revenue for the airlines is nearly unsustainable in their business model.”

However, high level negotiations continue at Government level.

The Alternative – Facial Recognition

MFlow-what-it-is-2For some time now, we have been advocating the use of facial recognition for passenger flow measurement and increased security at airports.

Security watchlists can be integrated into a facial recognition systems to alert security officials of any known threat entering the airport.

When it comes to tracking the flow of passengers, the best way to do it is to track the passenger, not be reliant on a rapidly changing security climate or consumer device you have no control over.

Over the last ten years airports have increasingly deployed facial recognition as it has proven its ability to accurately capture and track passengers through the airport and identify potential security risks.

The intrinsic advantage that face recognition has for passenger tracking is simple – people always travel with their face…


To learn more about why you should measure the flow of passengers through your airports, download our white paper or call us on +44 (0)333 456 2001. Alternatively contact us today.

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