Tags: homeland security | facial recognition | aiport

Study: Homeland Security Violating Privacy by Facial Scans at Airports

Image: Study: Homeland Security Violating Privacy by Facial Scans at Airports

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 21 December 2017 10:44 AM

A Georgetown University law school study says the Department of Homeland Security is wrongfully gathering data on Americans when it forces airline passengers leaving the U.S. to undergo facial recognition, The New York Times is reporting.

The pilot program by Homeland Security has been installed at nearly a dozen airports and has not gone through a required federal rule-making process, a report by researchers at the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown's law school concluded, according to the newspaper.

The program requires people to undergo facial recognition scans to make certain they haven't overstayed their visas, the Times said.

But researchers claim it is an invasive surveillance tool with high error rates and tends to be biased. They claim the scans regularly fail to identify women and African-Americans, the newspaper reported.

"It's telling that DHS cannot identify a single benefit actually resulting from airport face scans at the departure gate," said Harrison Rudolph, one of the report's co-authors.

"DHS doesn't need a face-scanning system to catch travelers without a photo on file. It's alarming that DHS still hasn't supplied evidence for the necessity of this $1 billion program."

Homeland Security officials are rolling out a biometric exit system that uses facial recognition scans at all U.S. airports with international flights in 2018, the Times said.

The agency has been testing a variety of programs at airports including those in Atlanta, Boston, New York and Washington, the newspaper reported.

 Officials defend the program saying the system has helped catch people who have entered the county illegally, the Times noted. Those officials acknowledged privacy concerns, but said they were working to resolve them.

NPR said the entire process takes about five to six seconds.

"We're basically capturing that picture at the boarding gate and then providing it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection," says Sean Farrell, who works for a company running this technology.

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A Georgetown University law school study says the Department of Homeland Security is wrongfully gathering data on Americans when it forces airline passengers leaving the U.S. to undergo facial recognition, The New York Times is reporting.
homeland security, facial recognition, aiport
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2017-44-21
Thursday, 21 December 2017 10:44 AM
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