The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is trialing a new facial recognition technology at US borders aimed at keeping track of people as the enter and exit the country. Called the Vehicle Face System, the project is being spearheaded by Customs and Border Protection at the Anzalduas Border Crossing, located at the southern tip of Texas, in August, according to the Verge. Sophisticated cameras will take photos of people arriving and departing the US and match them with government documents like visas and passports. The cameras are expected to remain in operation at the crossing for a full year. A customs spokesperson told the Verge that the purpose of the project will be to'evaluate capturing facial biometrics of travelers entering and departing the US and compare those images to photos on file in government holdings'.
The US government is deploying a new facial recognition system at the southern border that would record images of people inside vehicles entering and leaving the country. The pilot program, scheduled to begin in August, will build on secretive tests conducted in Arizona and Texas during which authorities collected a "massive amount of data", including images captured "as people were leaving work, picking up children from school, and carrying out other daily routines", according to government records. The project, which US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed to the Guardian on Tuesday, sparked immediate criticisms from civil liberties advocates who said there were a host of privacy and constitutional concerns with an overly broad surveillance system relying on questionable technology. Already the largest and most funded federal law enforcement agency in its own right, the border patrol is part of the umbrella agency US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP's approximately 60,000 employees are split in four major divisions: officers who inspect imports; an air and marine division; agents who staff ports of entry – international airports, seaports and land crossings; and the approximately 20,000 agents of the border patrol, who are concentrated in the south-west, but stationed nationwide.
The Donald Trump administration is planning to expand the use of biometric facial recognition systems at airports around the United States. News of the expansion comes from U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Larry Panetta, who spoke about adoption of facial recognition technology at the Border Security Expo. "We currently have everyone's photo, so we don't need to do any sort of enrollment," Panetta said. "We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of US Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the US and their biometrics are captured into [Department of Homeland Security database] IDENT." The project to equip airports around the country with facial recognition systems is known as Biometric Exit.
Last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) put out a notice, saying it was looking for a facial recognition system that could work with images taken of people inside their cars. The idea was that such a system could be used to scan people entering and leaving the country through the US/Mexico border and match them to government documents like passports and visas. Now, The Verge reports that DHS will be launching a test of a system aiming to do just that. The Vehicle Face System, as it's called, is scheduled for an initial deployment in August and it will be installed at the Anzalduas border crossing. The test will take place over one year and will aim to take images of passengers in every car that enters or leaves the US through the crossing.
A plan to rely on biometric recognition to further automate airport border processing raises privacy and ethical concerns about data security, according to an expert. But another information security analyst says the plan – which would involve 90% of passengers being processed through Australian airport immigration without human involvement – would not present any more privacy concerns than current border control regimes. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is tendering for a company to provide it with an "automated processing solution" to support its "seamless traveller" plan, which would allow for the automated processing of passengers using biometric identification. Tender documents say 90% of passengers would go through through automated processing points, which would rely on biometric capturing "including but not limited to facial, iris and fingerprints". The department said it was expecting incoming air passengers to Australia to increase dramatically in coming years, and wanted to ensure they could move seamlessly through airports without compromising border security.