4 December 2023

Analysis: What happens to personal data collected through airport e-security gates?

The Airport Authority says it retains passengers’ personal data only for 7 days. Also, it is not necessary to go through the machine.

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[The Airport Authority has updated its privacy policy statement on Jan. 4, 2021. The content and links in the article are revised accordingly.]


[Updated in September 2021]

In the latest version of the privacy policy statement, the AA spells out four purposes of using the personal data acquired: 1) to verify the right of entry to the airport restricted area, 2) to safeguard the area, 3) to facilitate airport operations and 4) to conduct analytics for the improvement of the operation.

[The following part was published on Aug. 14, 2020]

[Updated in September 2021]

The updated privacy policy states the personal data of the e-security gate users will be kept confidential as in the previous version. However, the AA says it may share the data to third party service providers to achieve the four purposes described earlier in this article.

The new statement no longer mentions a “prior express consent” from the personal information owner, which was deemed “required” in the older version. Also, the updated policy no longer guarantees anonymity when the personal data is transferred to the third party service providers.

[The following part was published on Aug. 14, 2020]

When a passenger goes through the e-security gate, their personal data will be automatically collected. According to the privacy policy statement (link updated to the archived version), the data includes:

  • Place of birth;
  • Age group;
  • Gender;
  • Month and year of birth; and
  • Flight information (including date of travel, origin, destination, airline, scheduled departure time, class of travel).
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Table: Comparison of the types of data AA collects when the passenger bypasses the e-security gate and the data retained after seven days upon flight departure (table made by Annie Lab)