Biometric Entry Arrives at Dulles International Airport

Facial recognition is now being used to screen international arrivals at the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

It’s an expansion of the US Customs and Border Protection agency’s biometric screening program, which arrived at IAD in June of last year, when facial recognition technology was implemented to scan international travelers departing from the airport. Individuals who do not opt out of the process have their faces scanned and matched against photos associated with travelers on the flight’s manifest, as collected via passports.

The CBP says that its Biometric Exit program, which entails the biometric identification of departing travelers, is now in place at 15 airports across the US. Biometric Entry, meanwhile, is in place at 14 airports, now that it has gone live at IAD.

The deployment was implemented in collaboration with Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, whose CEO, Jack Potter, commented in a statement that the biometric technology was designed “to be deployed faster and offer a portable, flexible and less expensive alternative than other biometric screening systems that have been introduced.” Potter added later, “we hope this technology becomes a useful and cost-effective tool for airports and airlines that process the growing number of travelers entering and leaving the United States.”

While the CBP’s escalating use of facial recognition at US airports has drawn criticism from privacy and civil rights groups such as the ACLU, the organization has shown no indication of slowing down its program’s expansion, and touted the reliability of its technology in announcing the IAD deployment. The CBP says its system’s face matching process takes less than two seconds, and is 99 percent accurate.

September 7, 2018 – by Alex Perala