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CBP to test facial recognition on passengers in moving vehicles


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency will run a pilot program as early as this summer to use facial verification to identify automobile drivers and passengers in moving vehicles as they pass through a border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico, GovTech reports.

The pilot will scan the faces of vehicle occupants at the Anzalduas Port of Entry near McAllen, Texas, and if successful, the technology will eventually be rolled out across both the Northern and Southern borders.

“Traveler acceptance is really high, and we can thank the Apples and the Googles for that,” said Colleen Manaher, CBP executive director of planning, program analysis and evaluation told GovTech.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, sponsored by the U.S. Energy Department, have developed technology that enables facial images to be gathered even through strong windshield tint and glare, and Manaher says that if the system can identify 50 percent of individuals, it is “a home run.” CBP held an industry day in California in November to seek accuracy improvements to the system.

Like Illinois, Texas has laws against the use of biometrics for commercial purposes, so the popularity of the program will be a test of the public’s comfort level with use of the technology by government.

As previously reported, the biometric exit program has been both vigorously criticized and defended.

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