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CBP Uses Facial Biometric Comparison Technology at Seaports

Identity verification

CBP Uses Facial Biometric Comparison Technology at Seaports

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is using facial biometric comparison technology to verify the identities of arriving passengers at seaports amid the resumption of cruise ship travel.

The technology, estimated to be more than 98 percent accurate, is available at 12 seaports across the country and has mostly been used to clear cruise passengers in Florida and Texas.

The enhanced identity verification process is completed in two seconds, CBP said.

Passengers need only to pause for a photo that will be compared to their existing passport or visa photo stored within agency systems. If the photos match, passengers are allowed to proceed. Otherwise, travelers would be asked to undergo the traditional inspection process consistent with existing requirements for admission into the U.S.

U.S. citizens and select foreign nationals not required by law to provide facial biometrics can opt out of the new identification method by requesting a manual document check from a CBP officer.

CBP has partnered with several cruise lines, including Cruise Lines International Association, to facilitate the implementation of the facial biometric solution.

“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,” CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead said in a statement.

Facial recognition tech has been met with backlash from lawmakers and industry despite its perceived benefits.

A proposed expansion of the Department of Homeland Security’s biometrics collection was scrapped due to criticisms of it being invasive, unnecessary and unjustified.

Democratic House lawmakers are also pushing for a bill that bans the use of facial recognition and biometric technologies in housing units funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Tags: CBP cruise industry Cruise Lines International Association Customs and Border Protection facial biometrics technology federal civilian Kelly Craighead