U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced the deployment of facial recognition biometric exit technology to several more airports, including McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, for one daily flight from the United States to Guadalajara, Mexico; and William P. Hobby International Airport in Houston, Texas, for select flights. This follows recent deployments of the technology to Washington Dulles International Airport; George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas; and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois. An initial pilot was also conducted at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Additional deployments are planned in the near future.
John Wagner, CBP’s Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for Field Operations, said, “With the expansion of this technology we will be looking at different flights, airports, lighting conditions, and internal IT configurations to demonstrate to our stakeholders that this solution is flexible, reliable and easy for travelers to use.” Using the flight manifest, CBP builds a flight-specific photo gallery using photographs from the travel document the traveler provided to the airline. CBP then compares the live photo against the document photo in the gallery to ensure that the traveler is the true bearer of the document. If the photo captured at boarding is matched to a U.S. passport, the traveler—having been confirmed as a U.S. citizen—is automatically determined to be out of scope for biometric exit purposes and the photo is “discarded after a short period of time,” CBP said, adding that it “remains committed to protecting the privacy of all travelers.”