Biometrics application in airport security and the Individual's right to privacy
Bhunjun, Ganeshwar Kumar
MetadataShow full item record
Biometrics is the science of identification or verification of any individual based on that person's unique physiological and behavioural characteristics. As the application of biometrics technologies achieve global penetration, particularly in airport security, so individual privacy becomes compromised. This research examines the relationship between privacy and security, using South African air travellers as its focus, and airports as the specific area of application. Two different approaches have been used for this research. The first is a literature-based approach that discusses the use of biometrics technologies and privacy concerns for airport security. The second method is empirical fieldwork in which questionnaires were used to measure the response of South Africans, residing in Cape Town, regarding their attitude towards the use of biometrics for authentication and their perceptions of the relationship between privacy and security. This thesis tries to give an answer to the following questions: Will travellers accept biometrics for higher security measures, that is, positive authentication? Will passengers be willing to opt for higher security measures by giving up privacy? Are passengers prepared to make privacy sacrifices for the sake of convenience? The response rate to the questionnaire was 91.3% from a sampling frame of 150. It delivered 136 usable responses. The survey findings indicate that all passengers making international trips are familiar with fingerprint technology, as they have had to provide fingerprints for passport and/or driver's licenses. The opinion survey confirmed that South African passengers are more concerned about their personal security than privacy. Respondents would sacrifice privacy for higher security and convenience. The results also illustrate that the majority of individuals would accept using biometric technologies at the airport as a means to improved security. Findings from this research make a contribution towards understanding public attitudes regarding the application of biometric technologies and individual privacy rights, specifically focused on the application at airport security.