The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has asked for a substantial extension of the airports’ facial recognition jurisdiction. The Department sent a proposal to the Federal Registry on 19 November to continue to extend the ongoing biometric exit program to include both air and land ports. At the cost of alternate approaches such as fingerprints, the paper also changed the emphasis of the proposal entirely to facial recognition.
Biometric exit was run as a test project following its first launch in 2017, restricted to a few ports to determine its viability. Customs officials can only obtain data from designated ports and passengers as part of the pilot authorization. But now this latest initiative would allow border authorities to vote to extend the strategy on their own.
This will entail absolute permission to capture non-citizens’ facial images. Anyone entering or exiting the United States by customs should go through the process of facial recognition, according to the current regulations. The method can also be used by American citizens to be recognized, although it retains the ability to opt-out.
This proposed rule stipulates that when entering and/or leaving the country, all foreigners will be required to take photographs. The use of facial recognition technologies would make the process of checking the identification of foreigners more successful and efficient when entering and exiting the country. Originally suggested as a way to check the identity of travelers and deter visa fraud, the biometric departure initiative has since been modified to include additional steps to detect alleged criminal criminals.
Visa photographs comparing databases of travelers would also compare these available photos with available photos linked to derogatory documents, such as TECS guard records, Extremist Screening Database (TSDB) records, and outstanding demands and arrest warrants. Customs officers will mark passengers who have not completed the requested order for further inspection.
It is still uncertain how after taking office on January 20, President-elect Biden will navigate this extended scheme. Throughout the initiative, Biden stayed largely quiet on facial recognition and did not pledge a stance on the proposal. A group of civil rights groups had hoped in an open letter earlier this month that the incoming president would practice tighter technology regulation.