US Customs and Border Protection’s biometric traveler screening program continues to expand across the country, this time reaching the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) in North Carolina.
Dubbed “Simplified Arrival”, the program uses facial recognition to verify travelers’ identities by matching their faces to their travel and identity documents, and matching the latter against government records. The program has come under fire from civil rights groups over concerns including the potential racial bias of facial recognition algorithms, but the CBP has repeatedly boasted about the technology’s utility in catching imposters, and has also highlighted other benefits of the program including enhanced efficiency and the “touchless travel experience” it enables.
The photos of foreign nationals processed through Simplified Arrival are stored in Department of Homeland Security databases, whereas new photos of US citizens are deleted within 12 hours of capture. Those who are not required to provide biometrics when crossing the border are allowed to opt out of the face scan by notifying a CBP officer.
In announcing Simplified Arrival’s implementation at CLT, the CBP indicated that it has plans to further expand the biometric screening system’s presence across the state’s borders, with CBP Charlotte port director Barry Chastain asserting that the “CBP looks forward to partnering with stakeholders at other international ports of entry across N.C. to implement Simplified Arrival.”
Officials at the CLT airport have welcomed the deployment. “We are excited to partner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to offer Simplified Arrival at CLT,” commented the airport’s Acting Aviation Director, Haley Gentry. “As one of the busiest airports in the world, this innovative technology will provide our millions of passengers each year an enhanced customer experience upon their return to the U.S.”
The CBP’s CLT announcement arrives shortly after the news that Simplified Arrival would be implemented at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu, through a partnership between the CBP and the Hawaii Department of Transportation.
May 17, 2021 – by Alex Perala