US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has brought its Simplified Arrival scheme to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The system uses facial recognition to match the faces of international arrivals to the images on their travel documents.
The news makes SFO the 11th US airport to receive Simplified Arrival, and comes after recent installations in Detroit and Houston. Simplified Arrival is intended to reduce processing times at customs checkpoints. The system has already been used to screen 52 million travelers, and has led to the capture of nearly 300 imposters trying to enter the United States thus far.
“SFO is committed to a safe and healthy travel experience,” said SFO Director Ivar C. Satero. “Simplified Arrivals creates a more touch-free arrival for our international travellers, while also making the process faster and easier.”
Passengers using the Simplified Arrival system will first pause for a photo when they arrive at the San Francisco customs station. That photo will then be matched to an existing image taken from that person’s travel document. If the system cannot make a match, the individual will be referred to a CBP agent for a manual inspection. US citizens and select other travelers can also opt-out of the facial recognition scan, in which case they will similarly be asked to submit their travel documents to a live agent to complete the screening process.
Of course, the use of facial recognition remains a controversial subject, especially in San Francisco, which was one of the first municipalities to ban the public use of the technology. CBP has steadily expanded its use of facial recognition at US borders in the past few years, though it did scrap a plan that would have made the technology mandatory for all US citizens.
Source: International Airport Review
September 30, 2020 – by Eric Weiss