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Biometrics industry has a big problem with call to ban ‘surveillance’ in airports

Biometrics industry has a big problem with call to ban ‘surveillance’ in airports

Two influential industry groups say a call by five powerful U.S. senators demanding a federal ban on facial recognition is way off base.

Last week, the senators said they wanted the Transportation Security Administration to stop deploying facial recognition systems in United States airports. Facial recognition software, they say, is being used or tested in 16 airports and plans call for a continued rollout.

The group claims travelers could have their facial biometrics leaked or stolen. That possibility forces people to decide if they want to travel by air urgently enough to gamble on losing control of their primary biometrics.

A rebuttal from the International Biometrics + Identity Association says the senators are either uneducated about what the TSA is doing, or they are politicking with inaccurate statements.

The TSA uses credential authentication technology, or CAT, terminals that do not recognize faces. They only try to match them to the documents travelers must carry to fly.

Association members say live images shown on TSA screens to verify identity are not stored in any meaningful way.

It has been argued that any segment of a facial biometric system that displays or otherwise handles biometric data, no matter how briefly, stores it long enough for it to be misused. This, however, is not what is typically meant when the vulnerability of sensitive data is invoked.

Association members further say the live images used by the TSA are not part of biometric surveillance at any airport.

The Security Industry Association was no more pleased than the biometrics association with the senators’ statement, said pollster Schoen Cooperman Research has found that 70 percent of Americans favor facial recognition used for TSA screening.

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