Use of recognition-based technology to count passengers using the security screening service
AvSec undertook a Queue Counting and Wait Times Trial to address an Audit NZ recommendation to consider a more accurate and verifiable method for counting passenger numbers and measuring wait times.
A robust review process was undertaken to assess potential trial options, including early and extensive consultation with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) on the risks associated with privacy-related concerns. AvSec also established an external advisory group including privacy subject matter experts.
A requirement of the trial was that the biometric technology used would provide anonymous counts of people, with no personal data captured.
Ultimately, the biometric count solution, was selected as the preferred trial option to provide the most cost-effective option for automated passenger and non-passenger counts.
The trial concluded that the biometric count solution trailed is not the best solution for providing automated passenger and non-passenger counts due to environmental factors affecting the capture and processing rates , subsequently affecting accuracy in counts of peoples going through the screening point.
However, AvSec will continue to investigate alternative approaches to measuring queue counts for internal management purposes to enable efficiencies in screening and staffing management.
This trial was extended due to recent COVID-19 travel restrictions leading to a decline in passenger volumes, and ended 19 October 2021.
The purpose of this notice is to advise you of the trial of recognition technology to count the number of passengers using the security screening service and to produce a wait time for the security screening service so passengers know how long they can expect to wait in the queue.
Cameras will capture an image from a video feed of you entering the security screening queue. The face biometric data from the image will be converted to a digital signature (numbers) and the image deleted.
The digital signature is retained in a temporary memory cache in a secure government dedicated server only for the duration that you are in the queue. When you exit the queue another camera records your exit, creates another digital signature and matches your exit with the digital signature of your entry.
The information will be used to compile a wait time that is displayed for other passengers so they know how long they can expect to wait in the queue, and produce a count of the number of passengers using the security screening service.
The images of your entry and exit are deleted after the digital signatures have been created, and the digital signatures are then deleted after you exit the queue. No other use is made of the video feed or digital signature other than to count the number of passengers passing through the security screening area.
There is no image or digital signature retained of the fact that you have used the security screening service.
As no image or digital signature of you is retained after you have exited the queue there is no personal information retained that you can request access to, or correction of.
The collection of this information is authorised by the Aviation Security Service in order to:
This queue counting and wait time service is provided by the Aviation Security Service, the certified aviation security service operator at designated airports. The contact details for the Aviation Security Service in respect of this Trial are:
The Privacy Officer
Aviation Security Service
PO Box 3555
Privacy letter from Avsec GM - Queue counting trial Wellington Airport 14 June 2021 [PDF 727 KB]
Privacy impact assessment - Avsec queue counting trial 25 May 2021 [PDF 1.7 MB]