Unisys completes facial recognition trial at Dulles International Airport

June 18, 2015 - 

Unisys Corporation has completed the initial phase of testing of a facial recognition system at Dulles International Airport, Virginia.

The trial program is designed to help Customs and Border Protection (CBP) identify imposters attempting to enter the country using passports that are either fake or do not belong to them.

For the trial program, Unisys and its partners designed an integrated facial recognition solution that captures live facial images of travelers entering the U.S.

The images are compared with those stored electronically in travelers’ passports, and if the images do not match, the travelers may be further inspected by CBP officers.

Unisys provided the solution under its Land Border Integration contract with CBP, which it was awarded with in 2010. As a result of this testing phase of the project at Dulles, CBP is considering expanding the program to additional U.S. airports, pending budget approval.

The solution allows CBP officers to scan and display biographic and biometric information from randomly selected travelers’ passports, while a desktop camera automatically captures their facial images.

The officers can then use the system to analyze the passports’ facial image and the captured images to determine whether there is a match or a need for further processing.

The Department of Homeland said that it will only assess the images of travelers captured during the test and will not retain or share the data.

The facial recognition technology is a standalone system that will not communicate with any other CBP or Department of Homeland Security systems, the Department of Homeland added.

“As cybersecurity and physical technologies continue to converge, technologies such as biometrics are playing an increasingly essential role in keeping us safe online and in the real world,” said Amy Rall, group vice president for the Department of Homeland at Unisys Federal. “CBP’s new facial recognition solution can make us safer while allowing officers to efficiently move travelers through airports with minimal disruptions – while protecting their privacy.”

Previously reported, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents were testing facial recognition technology at airports — including Washington Dulles International Airport — over three months in an effort to identify immigration violators.

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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.