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CBP biometric facial comparison deployed for cruise ship disembarkation in US

CBP biometric facial comparison deployed for cruise ship disembarkation in US

Passengers disembarking from cruise ships into twelve U.S. ports at the end of their cruise will undergo facial biometric comparison after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) formed public-private partnerships with major cruise lines.

Facial biometric comparison technology is already being used to process passengers arriving on most cruise vessels that have resumed in Florida and Texas.

The technology deployed verifies a traveler’s identity within two seconds and is more than 98 percent accurate. Disembarking passengers will pause for a photo which will be biometrically compared to their passport or visa photo held in Department of Homeland Security systems. Those who wish to opt out can request a manual check.

The partnerships will also see the CBP and cruise partners sharing more data to strengthen security. “As part of the [Covid-19] travel recovery efforts, travelers have the benefit of secure, touchless and streamlined entry procedures into the United States while CBP protects the privacy of all travelers,” said Diane J. Sabatino, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner of Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Similar biometric technology is already deployed in U.S. airports and land border crossings, and is increasingly common worldwide.

Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents more than 90 percent of global ocean-going cruise capacity, said, “The health, safety and security of passengers, crewmembers and the communities we visit is the cruise industry’s top priority and, to that end, the use of biometric technology in cruise terminals is showing impressive results”.

Biometrics are being interpreted as an overall boost to travel in the U.S. “As we build back the travel industry, biometric technology will play an increasingly important role in ensuring a modern and more secure and efficient travel system for all,” said US Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “US Travel commends CBP and its cruise line partners for their work to implement this important technology and safely restart cruising, a vital sector of the US travel economy.”

More than 88 million passengers have undergone biometric facial comparison at U.S. land, air and sea ports of entry, recently being installed in Guam and Saipan airports. The CBP claims to have used facial biometrics to prevent more than 850 imposters using genuine travel documents from illegally entering the U.S.

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