U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today the deployment of facial recognition biometric technology at one Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport for 30 days. As part of this technical demonstration, CBP is partnering with TSA to utilize international travelers’ photographs taken at TSA’s Terminal 7 international checkpoint to compare against travel document photographs.
“As we continue to deploy technical demonstrations, CBP is assessing the use of biometric technology as part of a future end-to-end process, from check-in to departure, in which travelers use biometrics instead of their boarding pass or ID throughout the security and boarding process,” said John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations. “Expanding these demonstrations to the TSA process is the next step in CBP’s goal of transforming and improving air travel—making it smoother, seamless and more efficient for travelers—while also enhancing the security of the process.”
As in CBP’s current biometric exit technical demonstrations, CBP will use the flight manifests to build a photo gallery of travelers boarding international flights using travelers’ images from passports, visas, and other travel documents. When travelers on outbound international flights reach the TSA ticket document checking podium, the TSA officer will review the traveler’s boarding pass and identity documents in accordance with TSA’s standard operating procedures and will then direct the traveler to a camera placed next to the podium. After capturing the facial image, the traveler will proceed through the TSA security checkpoint and to their departure gate as usual.
CBP will use the facial images for analytical purposes only and all images will be deleted within 14 days. CBP and TSA remain committed to protecting the privacy of all travelers.
CBP has deployed biometric technology at a single gate at eight U.S. international airports as part of the agency’s implementation of a biometric exit system. CBP will implement an integrated biometric entry/exit process that provides significant benefits to air travel partners in addition to meeting the congressional mandate for a biometric exit system.