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CBP rolls out face biometrics at three additional US points of entry

California and New York pedestrian entry points now equipped with facial recognition
CBP rolls out face biometrics at three additional US points of entry

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced the introduction of biometric facial verification technology at the pedestrian lanes at Peace Bridge in Buffalo, NY and the Californian entry points of San Diego Cross Border Xpress (CBX) and Tecate. The new measure is designed to ensure fast and secure processing at the pedestrian border crossings from Canada and Mexico.

While the new biometric procedure is mandatory for foreign nationals, it remains optional for U.S. citizens. Accordingly, U.S. citizens who choose to decline facial recognition processing are still required to present valid travel documents and must partake in regular inspection procedures.

Once a traveler arrives at the pedestrian border and presents travel documents, an officer will take a facial picture and compared it against existing passport and visa photos stored in government databases. This process is said to take only seconds and is considered 97 percent accurate.

“As part of our land border innovation efforts, CBP has deployed a secure, efficient, and intuitive process at select pedestrian lanes that delivers a streamlined experience for travelers arriving into the United States,” states Diane J. Sabatino, deputy executive assistant commissioner of Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the announcement. “CBP’s use of facial biometric technology not only provides an additional layer of security, but ensures a safer, touchless method of traveler verification while protecting the privacy of all travelers.”

With regards to privacy concerns, CBP reiterates that it is employing strong security precautions. This includes limiting the amount of personally identifiable information used in the screening process and deleting new images of U.S. citizens within 12 hours. Images of foreign nationals are not deleted but will be kept in a secure Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database.

These additions are the latest in a series of CBP measures at border entry points to help curb identity fraud.

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