Philippine Airlines caught in data privacy issue over passport snapshot practice

Jacob Lund /

Philippine Airlines must address why its employees are ‘required’ to take photographs of passenger passports with their personal phones.

This is what airline passenger Caria Metis is demanding, taking to social media to address the Philippine flag carrier and raise concerns.

Metis was en route to Toronto from Singapore (via Manila) when a Philippine Airlines employee allegedly informed her that he must take a photograph of her passport because it is a company “requirement” for passengers transiting via Manila to Toronto.

According to a thread written by Metis on Twitter on Twitter, the airline employee proceeded to show her previous passengers’ passport photographs taken on his mobile phone, which, she was told, was sent to a WhatsApp group to unknown recipients.

The incident has caught the attention of Ethics PH, a group that assesses the ethical use of data and technology in the Philippines. The group asked Philippine Airlines if its passengers sign a data privacy agreement that covers the practice of taking images of passport photos. 

The airline replied to say that it has reached out to the passenger and that “this is already being looked into”.

However, in a later tweet, Metis said that she has not received any communication from the airline.

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