Leak reveals details of US customs’ biometric plans
20 March 2015 14:16 GMT

The locations and procedures of major United States’ Customs and Border Protection biometric entry pilots have been leaked ahead of their launch this year.

Documents published online outline the CBP’s plans for a Facial Recognition Air Entry Pilot, a Targeted Mobile Biometric Air Exit (BE) Experiment and  a Pedestrian Biometrics Exit Experiment, all to be launched before Summer.

Earlier this week, a CBP document revealed details of the 1:1 Facial Recognition Air Entry Pilot, which aims to determine if facial recognition is viable in assisting Customs Border Patrol Officers in identifying possible imposters using US e-passports.

The slides reveal that this pilot will take place over 90 days at Washington Dulles aiport, with US epassport holders the subjects.

The BE pilot, meanwhile, will see outbound inspection teams use a handheld mobile device  to create biometrically-confirmed exit records for a  limited and random group of foreign travellers. This pilot will take place at Atlanta Hartsfield International.

Finally, the pedestrian biometric exit pilot will take place at the Otay Mesa border between the United States and Mexico. This project will involve the testing “the viability of facial and iris image capture”.

The CBP will install devices capable of scanning a traveler’s face and iris, replacing existing entry kiosks, the agency explains in the slides. It will also deploy RFID document readers, iris biometric scanners, and facial biometric cameras, according to a sketch of the border station in the slides.

The slides were leaked to Motherboard by Arjun Sethi, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) legislative counsel, who attended a presentation held on March 10 at the CBP headquarters.

"The public should take notice,” Sethi, of the ACLU, told Motherboard. “These programs may be coming to a theater near you."

Photo: "US Customs and Border Protection officers". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. 

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