Department of Homeland Security Will Increase Use of Facial Recognition Technology to Record Departures from the United States.


The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) unit, which is responsible for immigration enforcement along U.S. borders, has indicated it will expand the use of facial recognition technology to record departure information from international travelers.  The technology is being implemented gradually at airports nationwide. 


The procedure involves briefly snapping a photograph of the passenger whose identity is then verified against a library of existing images.  According to CBP Director at the San Francisco and Portland field offices, Brian Humphrey, the photo library currently consists of a billion images obtained from passport and visa applications.  Mr. Humphrey added that the CBP discards the pictures they capture for exit purposes within 72 hours in order to alleviate any privacy concerns. 


Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union called for a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology for immigration purposes until Congress and the public have an opportunity to debate whether such technology is appropriate for law and immigration enforcement.


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