CBP to include biometric data in border crossing database

May 12, 2015 - 

The Department of Homeland Security announced that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will update personal information categories in the Border Crossing Information (BCI) System of Records to include the capture of various biometric data including digital fingerprints, photographs and iris scans at the border, according to a report by HS Today.

The update, which was detailed in a notice posted in the Federal Register, is part of DHS’ “ongoing effort to better reflect the categories of records in its collection of information”.

DHS will also update the DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records to include collection of records, including photographs of scars, marks, tattoos and palm prints from individuals related to the biometric sharing between the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System/Next Generation Identification of the Department of Justice/FBI and the DHS Automated Biometric Identification System information technology platform.

Additionally, CBP is updating the categories of records gathered from a related Advance Passenger Information System transmission to more accurately reflect the collection of personally identifiable information at the border.

“This system of records allows Customs and Border Protection to collect and maintain records on border crossing information for all individuals who enter, are admitted or paroled into, and (when available) exit from the United States, regardless of method or conveyance,” DHS said in a statement. “Border crossing information includes certain biographic and biometric information; photographs; certain mandatory or voluntary itinerary information provided by air, sea, bus and rail carriers or any other forms of passenger transportation; and the time and location of the border crossing.”

DHS previously published this system of records notice in the Federal Register on May 28, 2013, and a final rule exempting parts of this system from specific provisions of the Privacy Act was published on February 3, 2010, and remains in effect.

DHS/CBP states that it is updating the system of records notice to highlight the collection of biometric data from US citizens and certain aliens arriving to, and departing from, the United States.

The updated system is effective upon publication, however, DHS said it “will accept and consider comments from the public and evaluate the need for any revisions to this notice.”

Previously reported, Secure Identity & Biometrics Association founder Janice Kephart recently testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, urging DHS to promptly deploy a comprehensive biometric immigration exit system and re-designed entry system, while reiterating these benefits in a roundtable discussion titled “Securing The Border: Biometric Entry and Exit at Our Ports of Entry“.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.