Facial recognition at airport?

Facial recognition could be the new way to check in


Giving TSA facial-recognition software isn't worth a faster security line

Earlier this month, officials at Washington Dulles International Airport unveiled a facial-recognition system designed to replace boarding passes. Travelers who loathe the long lines and waiting associated with airports may applaud the move; the scans take less than a second.

Yet we shouldn't be so quick to welcome timesaving face scanners. Facial-recognition technology poses a unique surveillance threat and is being deployed without adequate privacy protections. It should be kept far away from airports.

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What is Facial Recognition?

Facial recognition technology is considered part of biometrics, the measurement of biological data by devices or software, similar to fingerprint scanning and eye/iris scanning systems. Computers use facial recognition software to identify or verify a person by mapping facial features, characteristics, and dimensions and comparing that information with immense databases of faces.

How Does Face Recognition Work?

Facial recognition technology is more than a simple face scanner or face match program. Facial recognition systems use a number of measurements and technologies to scan faces, including thermal imaging, 3D face mapping, cataloging unique features (also called landmarks), analyzing geometric proportions of facial features, mapping distance between key facial features, and skin surface texture analysis.

Facial recognition software is used in a variety of ways, but most often for security and law enforcement purposes. Airports use facial recognition software in a couple of different ways, such as scanning faces of travelers to search for individuals suspected of a crime or on a terrorist watch list and also to compare passport photos with in-person faces to confirm identity.

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Say cheese: U.S. airports plan to scan your face at security, bag check and boarding

If you're travelling by plane in the United States any time soon, you may come across facial recognition technology to check in, drop off a bag, go through security and board your flight.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) has been using the technology to screen non-U.S. residents on international flights for a few years. But now the Transport Security Administration (TSA) is partnering with the CPB and rolling out facial recognition on domestic flights, too.

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