US Customs Now Doing Facial Recognition At DC Airport

A new facial recognition pilot program has been implemented at Washington, D.C.'s Dulles Airport; its name is "1:1 Facial Recognition Air Entry Pilot".

As part of the program, customs officers will have the ability to randomly select Americans coming back from abroad and take a picture of them. The ones that get chosen as high-tech lab rats can not opt out, according to CBP’s Privacy I​mpact Assessment (PIA), a document published last week to notify Americans of the program and its potential privacy implications.

The officer will compare the photograph taken with that stored inside the person’s passport chip, using a facial recognition algorithm developed by CBP. The software will then give “a match confidence score” determining how similar the two pictures are. At that point, the officer will have discretion to take further actions if the score flags that there’s something wrong. But, CBP notes, the facial recognition technology won’t be the only basis for admitting a traveler into the US or for “secondary inspection.”

CBP expects the facial recognition process to be extremely quick. Another slide of the presentation says it will only take between 5 to 7 seconds to snap a picture of the traveler, open the picture stored in her passport, and process the photo.

SF readers have noted facial recognition devices in use; for example, in the automated sentry with face recognition from Greg Bear's 2003 novel Darwin's Children.

Update: In their 1931 novel Exiles of the Moon, the Golden Age team of Schachner and Zagat describe a selective electric eye.

But the selective beam of the electric eye refused to swing open the portal. Already the orders of the master of the house had barred the door against her. The actuating mechanism that should have operated by the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell, remained dead.

End update.

Via Motherboard.

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