A newly opened concourse at Miami International Airport may represent the next phase in the US Customs and Border Protection agency’s expanding biometric border program. The Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) has announced that the airport’s Concourse E for international arrivals is the first airport concourse in the country to rely exclusively on expedited passport verification using facial recognition.
The development comes after a pilot project launched in November, the results of which have been propitious. MDAD says that with its automated biometric screening technology, Concourse E sees as many as 10 travelers screened per minute; in a statement announcing the deployment, Miami-Dade Aviation Director Lester Sola asserted that the technology “has significantly reduced wait times for our international passengers.” Additionally, last year Miami International Airport became the first in the world authorized by the CBP to let passengers access passport control forms entirely through their mobile devices.
News of the concourse upgrade comes amid both growth in biometric airport screening programs and some pointed criticism from privacy advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which recently argued that the CBP is shirking its responsibilities to protect citizens’ data by increasingly handing off data collection and storage to its private sector partners in air travel. Commenting on MIA’s Concourse E, CBP Executive Assistant Commissioner Todd Owen said that the airport’s passenger volumes are “on the rise” and that “[i]n order to meet the growing challenge of balancing traveler volumes and security, CBP has partnered with industry stakeholders to leverage biometric technology and systems.”
February 28, 2018 – by Alex Perala