CBP rolls out biometric facial comparison at point of entry in southern Texas

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has rolled out this week biometric facial recognition and comparison to pedestrian lanes at Progreso Point of Entry in southern Texas to boost entry and exit security and optimize identity verification in the travel process, the agency announced.

Last November, the agency added biometric facial recognition comparison technology at three pedestrian lanes at Laredo Port of Entry.

People arriving at the pedestrian lanes will have their picture taken at the primary inspection point and an officer will inspect the travel document. The photo taken will be cross-matched to the one provided in the travel document, the entire process taking a few seconds and delivering more than 97 percent accuracy.

U.S. citizens are not compelled to have their photo taken and can choose to not participate in the biometric process. CBP assures all travelers that their privacy is protected and that the process involves only a small amount of personally identifiable information. Photos of U.S. citizens are deleted within 12 hours; however, the agency will store captures of foreign nationals in a secure DHS system.

Last year, the agency was looking into deploying body-cameras with biometric facial recognition for an incident-driven video recording system (IDVRS).

CBP has been leveraging biometric facial comparison since 2018, detecting some 250 individuals trying to illegally get into the country with other people’s documents.

The technology was introduced after a number of suggestions made by the 9/11 Commission and Congress requests to keep a biometric record of foreign nationals arriving and exiting the U.S.

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