DHS Tests Biometric Border Screening

DHS Tests Biometric Border ScreeningAmerica’s border control agency is testing out a new biometric screening system at the Washington Dulles International Airport, and it’s raising concerns about privacy.

It’s the work of the Department of Homeland Security‘s U.S. Customs and Border Protection department. The biometric system relies on facial recognition technology, matching passengers’ faces to the images on their passports. If someone is using another person’s passport – that is, if the faces scanned don’t match – the biometric system can immediately flag them.

The pilot project is meant to go on for three months, with further trails to take place this fall at the Mexican border.

While the system has obvious benefits with respect to cutting down on passport fraud, there are some concerns that it could eventually lead to major privacy violations. The Senior Counsel of the Center for Democracy and Technology, for example, has called it “just the beginning” of a much more pervasive attempt to monitor individuals throughout public spaces in the country. And given how privacy advocates have rallied against other biometric identification programs in the US, it seems likely that an expanded version of this program could lead to some serious opposition. Nevertheless, biometric identification is increasingly seeing border control deployments around the world, and the technology’s march forward seems almost inevitable at this point.

News Source: CBC News

June 2, 2015 – by Alex Perala