SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) met with representatives from several privacy advocacy groups last week to discuss CBP’s Biometric Entry/Exit Program. Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, John Wagner led the discussion that covered CBP’s plans to enhance the traveler experience through incorporating biometrics and the utilization of public-private partnerships and efforts to protect the privacy of all travelers. CBP Privacy Officer Debra Danisek was also in attendance to engage with the participants.
This was the second information sharing session and open dialogue CBP has conducted with privacy stakeholders to provide an update on the implementation of the Biometric Entry/Exit Program. The first session took place on August 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.
CBP is currently demonstrating facial recognition exit technology at eight U.S. airports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, McCarran International Airport, Houston William P. Hobby Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Miami International Airport. CBP is also collaborating with airline partners to integrate facial recognition technology as part of the boarding process at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport.
CBP has published three Privacy Impact Assessments to provide the public with notice of how CBP will collect, use and maintain personally identifiable information in relation to these technical demonstrations.
There are several legislative mandates that direct the Department of Homeland Security to record the arrival and departure of non-U.S. citizens by collecting biometrics. More recently Executive Order 13780 calls upon CBP to “expedite the completion of a biometric entry exit tracking system for in-scope travelers to the United States.” CBP first established biometric screening procedures based on digital fingerprints for certain non-U.S. citizens in 2004 to secure our borders and ensure that the foreign travelers presenting themselves for admission to the United States are who they claim to be.