Attention to personal data when measuring the temperature in airports

Most airports in the world are trying to re-adapt to the new security conditions and reopen their gates to resume business and get the economy back on its feet. The testing of all airport passengers for Covid 19 is also taken into account, in order to encourage the revival of international tourism.

However, questions arise about the benefits and disadvantages of collecting personal data and processing them in very large quantities.

Biometric technologies such as facial recognition, iris and fingerprinting have often been used in airports to improve the passenger experience by reducing queues and speeding travel, but also for security reasons.

However, measuring body temperature is an unusual process in Europe and America. However, this procedure also took place in Asia, when there were outbreaks of bird flu. This solution would seem a fairly effective method to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus. Regardless of how the temperature is measured, the data obtained can help identify passengers who are carriers of Covid 19, thus ensuring the safety of other passengers.

However, the measurement of temperature in airports in Europe is stopped by the stricter privacy laws that apply to member states (GDPR). This means that certain additional conditions must be met before the processing of data is legal and the law also stipulates that special attention must be paid to their storage, handling, use and disposal.

If these rules are not followed, airports may face much higher fines from the authorities as well as serious reputation damage and loss of passenger confidence.

Therefore, before implementing the method of measuring body temperature at airports, GDPR requires them to conduct a data protection impact assessment so that the airport can document the identified privacy risks and mitigations that can be implemented in order to to minimize the risks.

The retrieved data must be used exclusively for identified purposes and passengers must be informed of how it will be used, stored and deleted.