U.S Customs and Border Protection has begun to test a new facial recognition data system in an effort to make airport screening more effective.
As a part of this test, passengers flying between the US and Japan will have their photos taken as they present their boarding passes. In doing so, the agency hopes to test their ability to “successfully compare the image of a traveler taken during departure against an image the traveler previously provided, in an automated fashion and without impacting airport operations.”
Passengers between the ages of 14 and 79 are required to take part in the tests, however, the department has addressed privacy concerns, saying “travelers who travel with a U.S. passport will not have their data retained for the purposes of this test once it is confirmed they are the true document holder.”
As for those concerned with how this will affect travel time, the department said, “the process will take less than three seconds before travelers proceed to the passenger loading bridge to board their flight.”
This short- term testing period will only last until September 30 and will only be taking place at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for now. However, the Department of Homeland Security is committed to implementing this system, or a system like it, in all airports by 2018.