Privacy advocates are up in arms over the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's use of facial recognition technology at some airports, which is already causing minor delays for passengers.
Driver's license, passport and visa photos are being entered into a giant database to help pinpoint possible threats at U.S. airports.
“I don't know of anyone who submitted a photograph for their driver's license or their passport who agreed to the government doing facial recognition on them when they went to the airport,” says Jeramie Scott, national security counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The Biometric Entry-Exit Program would automatically scan your face — and confirm your identity with U.S. Customs and Border Protection — as you prepare to board a flight.
“DHS, in this circumstance, has actually asked for a number of exemptions from those common sense security safe guards that are embodied in the privacy act, and they are seeking to implement a system that does not deliver on the full panoply of those legal protections,” says John Verdi, vice president of policy at the Future of Privacy Forum.
However, a report by DHS itself also suggested an unwillingness by airlines to keep passengers from departing on time.
“The question is do Americans have the desire for whatever the marginal increase in security is here and are they willing to trade that for slightly longer wait times at the airports?”
Both say any added layer of data gathering makes it that much more likely it could be hacked or compromised.