British Airways is suffering a backlash from privacy advocates after they announced their plans to create dossiers on their passengers by using Google to search for photos and other information about its passengers.
The airline said it wanted to be able to deliver a more personal touch by researching passengers. The “Know Me” programme will use Google images to find pictures of passengers so that staff can approach them as they arrive at the terminal or plane.
BA staff will also search individual data held by the airline, including if a regular traveller has experienced problems on previous flights, such as delays, so that crew are primed to apologise.
Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at BA, said: “We’re essentially trying to recreate the feeling of recognition you get in a favourite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers. This is just the start — the system has a myriad of possibilities for the future.”
No, just no. A restaurant that a person frequents is a small business. If a person wants to visit Chilis for dinner every Friday and have ribs, that’s fine. People in the community will recognize them. If they go to Chilis in another state, no one there is going to recognize them. That’s the way it should be.
It’s highly creepy for strangers that you are likely to never see again to know personal details about you, including what you look like because an airline did some data mining on you. It’s creepy and borderline stalkerish.
“The most recent advancement of the system enables the British Airways team to search Google images for a photo of specific customers so they can recognise them and proactively approach them. The airline is aiming to send 4,500 personal recognition messages a day by the end of the year.”
Why would anyone think this is a good thing? Who determined that it’s okay for an airline to start playing detective and putting information in a dossier about us? How do we even know that this information is correct? If it’s not, how do we change it?
British Airways has however, been added to my list of airlines I will never fly on so long as this policy is in place.