Facial recognition in the name of government efficiency has arrived.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched Simplified Arrival at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) as of September 25. The federal agency says Simplified Arrival is “modernizing international arrivals for air travelers and crew by automating processes and biometrically matching the traveler to their travel document using face comparison technology.”
CBP has committed to implementing an integrated biometric entry-exit process that provides significant benefits to air travel partners in addition to meeting the security mandate for a biometric entry-exit system. As part of its innovation efforts, CBP built a face biometric matching service, creating an ecosystem that supports the use of face comparison technology throughout the international passenger journey to include biometric exit, entry, and other passenger services.
From the press release issued last week:
Facial comparison technology is used because it seamlessly integrates into the airport environment and is easy to use for travelers and facilitates the flow of legitimate travel. Face comparison technology also strengthens National Security by reducing the risk that an imposter uses a lost or stolen travel document to enter or exit the United States. The technology enables CBP officers to focus on the traveler interview rather than administrative tasks.
CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. CBP published several Privacy Impact Assessments, employs strong technical security safeguards, and limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the new biometric process. United States Citizens that do not wish to have their photograph taken may request alternative means of processing. CBP will delete photographs of U.S. citizens collected through this process within 12 hours.