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CBP deploys biometric exit technology at Houston international airport


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has deployed facial recognition-based biometric exit technology at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas for one daily flight from the United States to Tokyo.

This deployment builds upon a June 2016 pilot using facial recognition at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Future deployments are planned for additional airports this summer.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a current pilot project for flights from Dulles International Airport to Dubai is testing NEC’s commercial-off-the-shelf NeoFace Express device and cloud-based NeoFace matching at a gate operated by Emirates Airlines.

At SAP’s FedScoop Digital Nation Summit a few weeks ago, U.S. Customs and Border Protection deputy executive assistant commissioner John Wagner said the agency is finally implementing the legislative mandated biometric exit program at airports. The announcement came a few weeks after the Department of Homeland Security released a report estimating that 629,000 visitors to the country overstayed their visas in 2016 due to the lack of a comprehensive biometric exit system at the nation’s ports of departure.

“Frankly, the government has struggled with this [mandate] for more than 10 years,” Wagner explained, adding that the agency would achieve the goal by using existing data collection, the latest facial recognition technology and cloud computing. He acknowledged there would be privacy issues, especially when considering that the facial recognition technology would capture images of U.S. citizens as part of the initiative.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed an updated version of his executive order on immigration, which calls for the expedited completion and implementation of a biometric entry/exit system for “in-scope” travelers.

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