Legal Aspects of Airport Programs

Privacy Laws Trends in Connection with Biometric Use at Airports

It is proposed to conduct legal research to:

• survey Federal, state, and foreign privacy laws applicable to the collection and use of biometric technology by the air industry;

• identify trends, analyses and categorization of pertinent laws and their requirements; and

• discuss practices best designed to foster compliance.

Background--State the problem and why research is necessary. Highlight the legal and regulatory issues as they specifically pertain to airports.

Airport stakeholders are in the process of recovering from the travel industry's devastating impacts of COVID-19. Global sources are encouraging the commercial use of biometric technology for accelerating recovery, health screening, streamlining travel processes, managing workforces, ensuring security, etc. In the meantime, legislatures at national and state levels are enacting laws to govern, and in some cases, limit the collection and use of biometric data, and include provisions that sanction commercial entities for violations. As an added complexity, several state laws apply based on the data subject's state of residence or where the data is stored or where the company is located.

Research will also include a discussion of sources for best practices such how best to inform the traveling public whether they can opt out (or opt in) and offer ideas for risk avoidance based on relevant recognized privacy protection principles such as Privacy by Design and the World Economic Forum 2020 framework for the responsible use of facial recognition, and assess whether frequently noted best practices are still relevant under today's laws and court decisions eroding long-standing precedents.

Armed with information about current legal requirements linked to the use of biometric technology and a significant focus on trends in the law, airport stakeholders would be able to not only make decisions for the immediate near-term, but to plan for the future. The research would inform airports within the United States regardless of whether they cater to interstate, regional, or international traffic.

Objective--State the objective, including a brief description of the intended deliverable, which airport stakeholders are the intended audience, and how their needs will be met by the deliverable.

The objective of the research is to provide the air industry with clear and concise information about the patchwork of privacy laws and their requirements applicable to the collection and use of biometric technology by the air industry and offer best practices to mitigate the risk of non-compliance. Research would also alert airport stakeholders to emerging trends related to legislative initiatives, evolving international approaches, conflicts among sectoral laws, changing definitions of personal data and their impacts, and relevant judicial decisions.

Relevance to Airport Legal Issues--ACRP's Legal Research Program focuses on legal and regulatory challenges and issues as they specifically pertain to airports. Please describe how this topic is relevant and unique to airports such that it should be researched.

By conducting research to identify and analyze Federal, state and foreign (e.g., EU GDPR) laws that apply to airport industry stakeholders' collection and use of biometric technology in the airport environment, the airport industry would have greater awareness and understanding of the requirements of privacy laws which underpin the lawful use of biometric technology. An appreciation of privacy and associated IT security system protections can inform proactive actions such as budget assessments and procurement considerations.

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Idea No. 801