Orlando Airport Uses Face Scans for All International Travelers

Privacy advocates are worried
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2018 12:47 PM CDT
Orlando Airport Uses Face Scans for All International Travelers
In this July 12, 2017 file photo, a US Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The latest in airport security: Get ready to have your face scanned if you're flying into or out of Florida's Orlando International Airport on an international flight. Other airports already use facial scanning for some departing international flights, but Orlando will be the first airport to require the scans for all passengers on all arriving and departing international flights. The image from a facial scan is compared to a Department of Homeland Security biometric database containing images of those who should be on the flight. At all the airports that use facial scanning, US citizens may opt out, but privacy advocates say not enough has been done to make Americans aware of that fact, the AP reports. Plus, a notice about a possible rule change for the program says US citizens "may be required to provide photographs upon entering or departing the United States."

They are also concerned about how any data gleaned from the facial scans will be used, and some are raising concerns about the possibility someone will be mistakenly barred from boarding a flight. "We're not talking about one gate," says one privacy expert. "We're talking about every international departure gate, which is a huge expansion of the number of people who will be scanned. Errors tend to go up as uses go up." He points out that some research shows the accuracy of the facial scans goes down for racial minorities, women, and children. Two US senators have urged DHS to implement formal rules and ensure a full vetting of the facial scanning program before it's expanded. The scanner works by comparing a passenger's image to their passport photo, which is stored in the database, CBS News explains. (Read more airport security stories.)

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