Facial recognition

Customs Says Visa Holders Must Get Face Scans

US Customs and Border Patrol is expanding a pilot program for visitors with a visa to the US to biometrically scan their faces before they are allowed to board a plane. The Biometric Exit program is now set to expand to airports across the country. Advocates note that for the first time, it will give Customs and Border Patrol a way to know if visa holders have left the country, or if they’ve overstayed their visa. But privacy advocates are worried the program is another move in the creation of a pervasive surveillance society. “Right now, other than the no-fly list, you do not have law enforcement checks on who can fly,” says Alvaro Bedoya, a Professor at Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology. “But once you take that high-quality photograph, why not run it against the FBI database? Why not run it against state databases of people with outstanding warrants? Suddenly you’re moving from this world in which you’re just verifying identity to another world where the act of flying is cause for a law enforcement search.” —AK

Photo: iStock.com / stevanovicigor

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