Customs and border patrol will be using a new facial recognition system to try and find immigration violators.
The new technology is being used to help identify foreigners who stay in the United States too long.
“We do see people trying to use the legitimate document, but it belonging to someone else, to conceal their identity,” Customs and Border Protection Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Wagner said, “and we are vulnerable to that.”
The technology compares photos in passports with the faces of the people presenting them and rates how likely they are to be a real match.
If another person’s passport is presented, the computer catches it in seconds, alerting the officer to investigate further.
They claim it’s only for the next four months, but systems like these tend to be justified by officials and become permanent fixtures.
The three-month pilot project at Dulles is part of larger testing of biometric technology. This fall, customs agents will begin collecting face and iris scans of people entering and returning from Mexico on foot from a San Diego border crossing.
So, already, the three month project is going to be used for a longer period of time, they’re just shifting it to a different location.
“This is really just the beginning,” warned Harley Geiger, Senior Counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
“The real concern is not so much this particular pilot program, it is that this particular pilot program is a step towards a larger program,” Geiger said. “Not just in ports of entry, but also in public places, mass transit systems throughout the domestic United States.”
The Department of Homeland Security has already proven with several programs this is how it operates.
The customs agency says about 250 people per day have their pictures compared using the technology at Dulles, including Jeffrey Fazio, who was returning from the Dominican Republic.
“Makes travel a little more cumbersome, but if it’s keeping us safe then it’s worthwhile,” Fazio said.
This tired statement is really ridiculous. It doesn’t make anyone safer, but people like to feel like they’re safe so they try to convince themselves that this program will be it.
Customs says it’s taken close to 4,000 pictures of travelers at Dulles. Those images are being saved in a secure database that is not shared.
For now. It’s not shared for now. It’s a pilot project. When they make it permanent, it will be shared.
But, officials say you are already require to present proof of your identity when you enter the country, the technology is simply helping to confirm that information.
People present their passports at the border, it is scanned and checked to confirm identity. This new technology does nothing other than gather another database to track individuals.