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CBP rolls out biometric exit technology at Washington Dulles International Airport


U.S. Customs and Border Protection has deployed facial recognition biometric exit technology at Washington Dulles International Airport for one daily flight to Dubai.

The deployment builds upon the agency’s June 2016 facial recognition pilot at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. CBP plans to roll out future deployments of the technology at additional airports this summer.

“CBP has been working closely with airline and airport stakeholders to test biometric exit technology and as a result has developed a viable exit solution based on facial recognition,” said Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “This process, now being deployed to Washington Dulles International Airport, enhances our security while continuing to facilitate legitimate travel.”

Based on the flight manifest, CBP creates a flight specific photo gallery using images from the travel document the traveler submitted to the airline.

The agency then uses facial recognition technology to compare the live photo against the document photo in the gallery to ensure the person is the actual document holder.

If the photo captured at boarding is successfully matched to a U.S. passport, the traveler is automatically determined to be out of scope for biometric exit purposes and the photo is discarded after a brief period of time.

In a statement, CBP said it “remains committed to protecting the privacy of all travelers.”

CBP first introduced biometric screening procedures based on digital fingerprints for certain non-U.S. citizens in 2004 to secure U.S. borders and ensure that foreign travelers entering the country are who they claim to be.

U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report earlier this year reviewing the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) progress in developing a biometric exit capability at the country’s air borders, which marked its first report assessing the planning of the capability since 2013.

Last week, JetBlue announced it partnered with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and SITA to test a new “paperless and deviceless self-boarding process” as part of ongoing trials to implement a biometric exit process in the future.

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