"The government is hurtling along a path towards its broad deployment... a deployment that seems quite unjustified and unnecessary."
'Privacy advocates raised alarm on Monday as documents revealed the U.S. government is "scrambling" to deploy a facial recognition program to screen international travelers at the nation's 20 busiest airports.
The 346 pages of government records—obtained by the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News—bolster mounting concerns among privacy advocates about sweeping, secretive government surveillance as well as the pitfalls of facial recognition technology.
"Facial recognition is becoming normalized as an infrastructure for checkpoint control," said Jay Stanley, an ACLU senior policy analyst. "It's an extremely powerful surveillance technology that has the potential to do things never before done in human history. Yet the government is hurtling along a path towards its broad deployment—and in this case, a deployment that seems quite unjustified and unnecessary."
Stanley is just one of many privacy advocates critical of efforts by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—to implement the "Biometric Entry-Exit System."
Through the program, according to three internal documents (pdfs) from DHS, "CBP will transform the way it identifies travelers by shifting the key to unlocking a traveler's record from biographic identifiers to biometric ones—primarily a traveler's face."'
Read more: Privacy Advocates Sound Alarm as CBP 'Scrambling' to Deploy Facial Recognition at Major US Airports