“In a statement, MCO officials framed the move as one that will improve efficiency and traveler experience, asserting that its biometric initiative with British Airways reduced passenger processing to just 15 minutes per traveler.”
The Orlando International Airport (MCO) is aiming to become the first in the country to fully deploy the US Customs and Border Protection agency’s Biometric Entry and Exit Program, with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board having voted to approve $4 million in funding for the effort.
The move isn’t coming out of nowhere. MCO has been working with the CBP on biometric screening for passengers on British Airways flights for months, and was one of the first airports in the country to embrace automated passport control kiosks based on facial recognition back in 2015. Now, MCO is aiming to implement biometric screening at all 30 of its international departure gates, and at CBP checkpoints in its two Federal Inspection Stations.
Compliance with the CBP’s Biometric Entry and Exit Program means that travelers approaching departure gates will need to stand for a photo, which will see their facial biometrics compared to data obtained from their passport and visa photos and stored in a virtual private cloud. The process is similar for those entering the US, with authorities collecting traveler data from flight manifests, though these travelers will still need to face inspection from CBP officers.
In a statement, MCO officials framed the move as one that will improve efficiency and traveler experience, asserting that its biometric initiative with British Airways reduced passenger processing to just 15 minutes per traveler. “With a faster and more secure clearance process, airlines, airports, and travelers will benefit from shorter processing times and standardized arrival procedures,” asserted Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Phil Brown.
Of course, for the CBP, this is about security, and the fulfilment of a congressional mandate to improve tracking of the arrivals and departures of foreign nationals. And for privacy advocates, it’s likely further cause for concern as the CBP’s collection of biometric data in collaboration with private sector interests intensifies.
April 20, 2018 – by Alex Perala