The next phase of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency’s Otay Mesa biometric screening trial is now underway, with non-US citizens having their irises and faces scanned both on the way into the US and on the way out to Mexico.
First announced last August, the project began trial in December, at first collecting biometric data only from those individuals entering the US. But in addition to providing more robust border security generally, the project is also meant to dovetail with government efforts to more effectively track traffic into and out of the country, largely out of a concern to identify those who overstay their visas. As such, the trial is now tracking those departing from the country too, matching their data against that collected upon entry.
The technology being used, in part provided by Iris ID, “is meant to be minimally intrusive on the traveler,” said Charmaine Rodriguez, Otay Mesa’s assistant port director, speaking to NBC. She added that “most of the process takes anywhere between one and seven seconds, with the longest process probably taking about 10 seconds for a non U-S traveler.”
This new phase of the project has been entered somewhat ahead of schedule, having originally been planned to commence February 22nd; but it’s also going to extend beyond the original testing period, now being scheduled to conclude June 30th rather than in May.
February 19, 2016 – by Alex Perala