Ryanair accused of alleged data protection infringement over facial recognition usage
NOYB filed a complaint against Ryanair, alleging that the airline violates data protection by employing facial recognition technology to verify their customers’ identity.
The European Centre for Digital Rights (NOYB) has filed a complaint against Ryanair, alleging that the airline violates the right to data protection of its customers by employing facial recognition technology for identity verification when booking flights via online travel agencies.
NOYB, on behalf of a complainant who purchased a Ryanair flight through Spain-based online travel agency eDreams ODIGEO, filed the complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency. Ryanair argued that these steps were necessary to check passengers’ booking and online check-in and compliance with safety and security requirements because travel agents do not often provide passengers’ contact and payment details. However, this process is not required for bookings made through Ryanair’s website or mobile phone app.
NOYB argued that there is no reasonable justification for such ‘intrusive’ requirements and accused the airline of violating its passengers’ data to obtain a competitive advantage over alternative booking channels. Additionally, NOYB stressed that Ryanair’s facial verification procedures are invalid under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).