Home News US Airports are now Scanning and Storing the Faces of the Travellers

US Airports are now Scanning and Storing the Faces of the Travellers

by Harikrishna Mekala

According to the Associated Publishers, which first announced the plan on Wednesday, facial-scanning pilot plans are now advancing at six American airports—Boston, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York City, and Washington DC. More airports are set to increase next year.

In a current privacy evaluation, DHS wrote that the “particularly way for a person to secure he or she is not subjected to collection of biometric data when moving internationally is to abstain from traveling.”

In recent times, facial recognition has grown more popular amongst federal and local law enforcement: a 2016 Georgetown research found that share of adult Americans are already in such biometric databases.

“Americans assume while they fly overseas that their baggage is going to be looked into,” Harrison Rudolph, a Georgetown judicial fellow, told Ars. “What people don’t expect is their face is going to be scanned. This is an extension of a program that was never allowed to US citizens.”

John Wagner, the Customs and Border Security official in charge of the arrangements, said that the bureau will remove such scans within 14 days. But he also stated that the Bureau may keep scans longer later it goes “through the proper privacy reviews and approvals.”

As they wrote:

US Citizens are not spared from this method for two reasons: first, it is not likely to require airlines to have two separate boarding rules for US citizens and non-US citizens, and another, to ensure US citizen passengers are the true bearer of the passport they are showing for travel.

If the image captured at boarding is equaled to a US citizen passport, the image is discarded after a short period of time.

In essence, for US residents the document control has been transformed from an old-fashioned process by airline staff or CBP officers into an automatic process using a machine. It is important to see that CBP is committed to privacy and has interlaced our privacy office at each step in the process to add biometrics to the divergence process from the United States.

Alvaro Bedoya, a Georgetown law teacher who led the 2016 study, said that DHS’ case does not hold water with him.

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