CBP piloting facial biometrics technology for pedestrian travelers

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is getting set for a facial comparison technical demonstration to begin at the San Luis Port of Entry for pedestrian travelers entering the United States.

A camera placed at the processing booth will automatically take a photo as the traveler approaches. The CBP officer will then review and query the traveler’s travel document, which will retrieve the photo from government holdings. The photo of the traveler will be compared to the travel document photo.

“This technical demonstration will help inform the agency on next steps to developing and implementing biometric entry/exit in the land border pedestrian environment,” explained Petra Horne, Acting Director of Field Operations, Tucson Field Office. “Similar to how this technology has had a positive impact on traffic flow in the air environment, we anticipate the same in the pedestrian environment.”

CBP will expand this technical demonstration to the Port of Nogales Dennis DeConcini Crossing later this year and will add an exit technical demonstration in Spring 2019.

It is not mandatory for U.S. citizens to have their photo taken. If they wish to undergo alternative screening procedures, they should advise the CBP officer when they approach primary. Photos of U.S. citizens are deleted after an individual is matched to a U.S. citizenship document and are not retained. Photos of foreign nationals are stored in a secure DHS system.

In August the CBP announced the initiation of Phase II of its Traveler Verification Service demonstration conducted in partnership with the TSA.

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