On our most recent IoT Podcast episode, Drew called into our voicemail hotline with an interesting question. Drew uses his Clear membership to speed through airport security: The paid service verifies a travelers identity as a “safe” flyer, allowing you to bypass the standard security lanes.
Drew recently received an email suggesting that Clear would be sharing his biometric data with Hertz for quicker car-rental checkouts in the Hertz Fast Lane program. If true, that would be very concerning without understanding exactly what data Clear shares with Hertz, or any other business partner, for that matter.
Since neither Stacey nor I use Clear at this time, we didn’t receive the same email that Drew did. So we did some digging. And it turns out we went from having potential concerns to being very impressed by how Clear protects your biometric data while still allowing the service to work with other companies on your behalf.
First and foremost, I misspoke on the podcast when saying that Clear uses facial recognition to determine your identity at airport security locations. Clear scans your iris and fingerprints at its kiosks. After validating your identity through those two biometric data points, you can then bypass the standard security checks at an airport and head right to your gate.
Secondly, it turns out that Clear isn’t actually sharing biometric data with Hertz to speed up the vehicle checkout process.
Instead, Clear members pick a Hertz rental vehicle and just before driving out of the garage they have their iris and fingerprints scanned at a Clear kiosk near the garage exit. This validates the driver’s identity, which Clear then sends to Hertz to complete the reservation, per Hertz’s website on this program:
CLEAR will not share its biometric data with Hertz. Hertz will obtain a unique linked ID with no additional biometric information from CLEAR. This ID will allow you to complete your rental transaction. However, upon verification (at the kiosk), CLEAR will share your first name, last name and link ID so we can confirm your reservation.
Note that Hertz isn’t receiving any of your biometric data in this transaction. Instead, just a minimal amount of information to complete the vehicle rental reservation is provided to Hertz. Additionally, Clear encrypts your biometric data so any information captured by a third-party while Clear is validating your identity would essentially be useless to that third-party.
This entire approach is very well done. Clear customers can securely have their identities verified to various businesses without sacrificing the actual biometric data. And by receiving trusted identify verifications, those businesses that partner with Clear can offer valuable, time-saving services such as the one Hertz offers. It’s win-win all around.
To hear Drew’s question in full, as well as our conversation on this topic, tune in to the IoT Podcast below: