The United States Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) announced in a press release this week that it will be implementing biometric facial recognition technology at pedestrian crossings in Brownsville, Texas.
The new system is being implemented in order to “enhance the identity verification process for lawful entry into the United States,” according to the press release, and is a direct result of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission as well as congressional mandates to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens.
The system will be similar to what is currently being introduced in airports across the world, including many in the U.S. When a traveller arrives at the border via the pedestrian lanes, they will be required to pause for a photo at the inspection point which will then be compared to the picture on their official travel document.
“The facial comparison process only takes a few seconds and is over 97 percent accurate,” wrote the CBP.
Photos of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours, while ones of foreign nationals will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security server.
The release notes however, that U.S. citizens are not required to have their photo taken, but will need to notify a CBP agent when approaching the inspection area to request a manual document check and state their desire to forego the facial matching process.
The CBP also wrote about its commitment to privacy, saying it “has employed strong technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the new biometric process.”
The introduction of the technology at the Brownsville crossing joins similar systems already in place at the Progreso Port of Entry, as well as nine other locations on the Southwest Border to Mexico.
February 28, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis