US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to expand its use of facial recognition at land borders. The agency has announced that it will be installing the biometric screening technology at the Peace Bridge pedestrian border crossing in Buffalo, New York.
The news comes less than a month after CBP installed facial recognition at pedestrian crossings in Detroit, Michigan, and the nearby Champlain, New York. The technology has also been deployed at the southern border, and is now in use at the San Luis Port of Entry in Arizona and the Laredo Port of Entry in Texas.
In Buffalo, travelers will have their photos taken when they arrive in a pedestrian lane, or undergo I-94 processing. That photo will then be compared to their passport or visa photo when they submit their travel document to a CBP agent. The scan is mandatory for foreign nationals, though US citizens can opt out of the program when they arrive at the primary inspection area. Those that do will still be sent to an agent for manual processing.
“As part of our land border innovation efforts, CBP has deployed a secure, efficient, and intuitive process at select pedestrian lanes that delivers a streamlined experience for travelers arriving into the United States,” said CBP Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of Field Operations Diane Sabatino. “CBP’s use of facial biometric technology not only provides an additional layer of security, but ensures a safer, touchless method of traveler verification.”
The photos of US citizens will be stored for 12 hours, while those of foreign travelers will be stored permanently in a DHS database. In that regard, the setup is comparable to the CBP Simplified Arrival system that is currently rolling out to airports across the country. The agency has also installed iris recognition tech at the Otay Mesa land border in San Diego.
November 27, 2020 – by Eric Weiss