US Customs and Border Protection has brought its biometric border control system to more land crossings, this time in the state of Washington. Simplified Arrival is now in place at the Lynden, Point Roberts, and Sumas ports of entry.
The CBP, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, has been rapidly extending the reach of its biometric border screening program in recent months. Simplified Arrival revolves around facial recognition, using the technology to match travelers to their passport and visa photos, and to check these face images against law enforcement and government watch lists.
The program’s deployments have most commonly been at airports, but the CBP has also been working to bring Simplified Arrival to a growing number of land and sea ports of entry. In February of this year, for example, the CBP announced that it had deployment the biometric screening system at the East and West pedestrian border crossings in Calexico, California. Shortly thereafter, the CBP announced that Simplified Arrival had been implemented at the Douglas and Naco Ports of Entry in Arizona.
Simplified Arrival has come under criticism from civil rights advocates on the basis of privacy intrusion and racial discrimination, as researchers have documented differences in accuracy rates of facial recognition technologies based on gender and race. For its part, the CBP says that its technology is over 98 percent accurate, and insist that it is a useful tool in its border control efforts.
“To date, more than 80 million travelers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land and seaports of entry,” the agency noted in announcing its new Washington deployments. “Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 800 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.”
The CBP’s announcement arrives just a few days after it officially announced the deployment of Simplified Arrival at the Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport in Guam.
July 2, 2021 – by Alex Perala