US plans to introduce facial scanning for all travellers

3 December 2019 (Last Updated December 3rd, 2019 12:04)

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reportedly planning to introduce facial scanning for all travellers entering and exiting the country.

US plans to introduce facial scanning for all travellers
CBP launched a biometric system at Detroit Metro Airport in September. Credit: US Customs and Border Protection.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reportedly planning to introduce facial scanning for all travellers entering and exiting the country.

The regulation, which includes US citizens and foreign travellers, is expected to put a check on the illegal use of travel documents and identify criminals and terrorists.

US citizens and permanent residents currently have the option of refusing biometric scans at airports. With the new regulation, the exemption will be removed for all travellers.

American Civil Liberties Union senior policy analyst Jay Stanley was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Travellers, including US citizens, should not have to submit to invasive biometric scans simply as a condition of exercising their constitutional right to travel.”

The DHS had previously proposed the changes and stated that it is ‘required by statute to develop and implement a biometric entry-exit data system’.

The government agency has existing plans to install biometric scanners at 20 of the country’s largest airports by 2021.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has started programmes to obtain the photographs and fingerprints of foreign travellers.

Facial recognition has been deployed in many airports to help quicken passenger wait times and verification.

In September, CBP launched facial recognition technology at Detroit Metropolitan Airport to accelerate arrivals and departures.

Delta Air Lines also deployed facial recognition technology to accelerate passenger clearance processes at Terminal 2 of Los Angeles International Airport. CBP had trialled the technology for one month.