Airport Facial Recognition Device Scores a Big First

Feds say it caught an impostor using a French passport
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2018 8:30 AM CDT
Airport Facial Recognition Device Catches First Impostor
Authorities released this photo of the passenger's shoe, where they found his real identity card.   (US Customs and Border Protection)

US Customs and Border Protection says a new facial recognition system has caught its first impostor, three days after it was put into use at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. The system—which compares travelers' faces to passport photos to catch impostors humans might miss—flagged a 26-year-old man who arrived on a flight from Brazil and presented a French passport that apparently didn't belong to him. He was taken aside for questioning and a search turned up his ID card from the Republic of Congo, which he had hidden in his shoe. "So he was trying to enter the country illegally, we apprehended him, processed him, and returned him back to Brazil," CBP official Daniel Mattina tells NBC News.

CBP says this is the first time the system, which has been tested at airports around the country since June and was implemented at Dulles on Aug. 20, has caught somebody using fake travel documents, CBS News reports. CBP Baltimore Field Office director Casey Durst describes the biometric technology as "an important step forward for CBP in protecting the United States from all types of threats." Federal authorities say the technology will speed up airport processing times and could eventually replace boarding passes, though privacy advocates worry it will be used to track "law-abiding citizens," reports Engadget. (This facial recognition software flagged 28 members of Congress.)

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