Facial recognition is coming to US airports

RingPlus News Service Los Angeles April 28th, 2017:  A new project called Biometric Exit is set to bring facial recognition systems to every international airport in America and it may make it harder for visa holders to board an international flight without submitting to a facial geometry scan. The project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country. Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application. If there’s no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally. The system is currently being tested on a single flight from Atlanta to Tokyo, but after being expedited by the Trump administration, it’s expected to expand to more airports this summer, and eventually rolling out to every international flight and border crossing in the US. Testing facial recognition systems began at Dulles Airport in 2015, then expanded the tests to New York’s JFK Airport last year. Face-reading check-in kiosks will be appearing at Ottawa International Airport this spring, and British Airways is rolling out a similar system at London’s Heathrow Airport, comparing faces captured at security screenings with a separate capture at the boarding gate. Some form of Biometric Exit has been discussed for decades, but until recently facial recognition emerged as the method of choice. Customs and Border Protection agents currently take photographs and fingerprints from every visa holder entering the country, but there are no similar measures to verify someone has left the country before their visa expires. The most recent proposal was set in motion by former DHS chief Jeh Johnson, who planned for a rollout by the beginning of 2018, but President Trump has sped up that process, making the program a central part of his aggressive border security policy. For business travelers and workers who may be pursuing a visa to work in the US, the Biometric Exit program is intended to track those who have overstayed the time allotted by their visa, and potentially determine who may have entered the US illegally. Facial recognition has been a fast growing security preference as it has been recently announced to be used on a Champion’s League Final soccer match in the U.K with South Wales police conducting a live pilot test of the new system on the day of the game. Critics worry the same systems could be integrated with law enforcement systems to turn airport visits into grounds for a law enforcement search and violating one’s privacy. The Biometric Exit is set to expand in a matter of months. 

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