Ryanair, accused of imposing facial recognition on customers in Spain

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Noyb (for “None of your business”), a Austrian NGO militant for the Protection of private lifefiled a complaint in Spain against Ryanair, accusing it of“illegally” impose facial recognition when booking elsewhere than on its website.

Europe’s largest airline asks its customers to undergo an invasive verification process by facial recognition, accuses the NGO in a press release. He ” seems obvious ” that this ” suspected breach of data protection » is mainly there for « encourage people to book directly with Ryanair “.

Noyb seized the Data Protection Authority in Spain on behalf of a Spanish passenger who had to perform facial recognition with a Ryanair subcontractor after paying 0.59 cents. In the event of non-validation, she would have had to go directly to the check-in counter on departure to obtain her boarding pass and pay the additional costs, between 30 and 55 euros.

According to Noyb, ” facial recognition systems require biometric data which must be transferred, as provided for by the European regulations known as GDPR, on the basis of a “ informed consent “. In the case of Ryanair, no consent is requested from customers. To prevent travel agencies from selling its tickets and retain exclusive distribution, Ryanair does not hesitate to use ” illegally » facial recognition to identify customers who have booked their tickets elsewhere than on its website.

Asked about this, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) recalled:
-If the regulations applicable to air transport may require an air carrier to carry out certain checks or collect personal data (data known as API => COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2004/82/CE of April 29, 2004), the use of a facial recognition is never imposed by said regulations.
-It is not up to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) to determine whether such an online verification process is illegal in itself. The use of facial recognition is part of a legal framework which is not within the scope of the DGAC and which is the primary responsibility of the operators who choose to use it, after consulting the CNIL if necessary. . The DGAC notes in any event that the company offers an alternative procedure free of charge consisting of “presenting yourself at the airport check-in counter on the day of travel at least 120 minutes before departure”.

In Francethe DGAC is not aware of any cases where passengers have been refused boarding for not having complied with such a verification procedure on departure from a French airport.

John Walker Avatar