CBP and TSA making progress with biometric JFK trials
12 October 2017 16:21 GMT

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiated a 30-day test of facial recognition biometric technology at a TSA international checkpoint at New York-JFK airport’s Terminal 7, the agency said Oct. 11.

The agency is entering TSA processes into the capabilities of biometric facial recognition technology, part of the CBP’s stated goal “of transforming and improving air travel, making it smoother, seamless and more efficient for travelers while also enhancing the security of the process.”

Similar to the biometric exit procedures in place at certain gates at airports in Las Vegas, Houston, Washington, DC and Chicago, CBP will use flight manifests to create a photo gallery of travelers boarding international flights collected from 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 said.

Images captured at the TSA ticket document checking podium will then be compared with the digital photo archive culled from passenger’s international travel documents. It is unclear, however, if the new biometric image-capture procedure will hasten the TSA security process. But the introduction of the technology as part of the TSA operational process is a necessary and practical step.

“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,” CBP deputy executive assistant commissioner, office of field operations, John Wagner said.