The Department of Homeland Security plans to extend facial recognition checks to all travelers entering and leaving the U.S. – including previously-exempt U.S. citizens. The proposed ruling, outlined in a recent filing that was first reported this week by TechCrunch, signifies a rapid expansion of the DHS’ use of facial recognition checks at the U.S. border. Previously, the DHS facial recognition checks applied to only non-U.S. citizens traveling to and from the U.S. The checks would scan passenger faces and match them with photos that the government has on file. “The Department of Homeland Security is required by statute to develop and implement a biometric entry-exit data system,” according to the DHS filing. “To facilitate the implementation of a seamless biometric entry-exit system that uses facial recognition and to help prevent persons attempting to fraudulently use U.S. travel documents and identify criminals and known or suspected terrorists, DHS is proposing to amend the regulations to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.” Facial recognition checks have been implemented at various airports through the “Biometric Exit” program, first introduced by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in 2015. As of April, the program was operational in 17 airports and the agency reportedly plans to expand that number to 20 by 2021. The DHS did not respond to a request for comment from Threatpost…
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