Royal Caribbean is introducing a high-tech way to help you get on the ship and to your room in less time. The cruise operator is using facial recognition software to make it happen. Of course, not everyone is happy about this development. Privacy advocates worry that Royal Caribbean could be violating the privacy of its customers.
Royal Caribbean has been testing facial recognition software at a select number of ports for a while. The list includes Miami, New Jersey and Cape Liberty. However, it will soon be rolled out at all ports.
The technology works by scanning passengers when they leave or return to a ship and comparing the scan against a cataloged photo. The cruise line is also using information provided through the Customs and Border Protection's Traveler Verification Service to verify passengers. Royal Caribbean is hoping that the use of facial recognition technology will help the company to keep passengers safer and make it harder for stowaways to board ships.
Critics are worried that people who cruise with Royal Caribbean will suffer from a loss of privacy. The same criticisms have been aimed at airlines and airports around the world that rely on iris scans and facial recognition technology to help passengers board planes. The biggest concern is that images will be stored by Royal Caribbean and government agencies. Royal Caribbean and U.S. Customs and Border Protection both insist that they do not store images once a trip is complete. Many critics aren't taking Royal Caribbean at its word. Questions have been raised regarding how soon after a trip the cruise line actually deletes passenger images.