Facial Recognition Technology Will Basically Scan All Airline Passengers Leaving the United States in the Future

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Facial recognition technology is going to be everywhere, and that makes more than a few people uncomfortable.

But should it, and why?

jet blue airlines
Image by Eric Salard

One area where it will really be visible in the near future is in airports and, apparently, it won’t be long before each and every departing airline passenger will have his or her face scanned upon leaving the United States.

The Verge reports that the “facial recognition system works by photographing passengers at their departure gate. It then cross-references this photograph against a library populated with faces/images from visa and passport applications, as well as those taken by border agents when foreigners enter the country.”

This is part of implementing a program called a “Biometric Exit” which will “give authorities an idea of who is entering and leaving” as well as enable the government to more effectively identify people who overstay their visas in the United States.

The system is apparently in place already in 15 airports as of the end of 2018.

Since then, “facial recognition identified 7,000 passengers who overstayed their visas on the 15,000 flights tracked.”

According to The Verge, US Customs and Border Protection says that some 600,000 people overstay their visas every year, an offense that carries a possible ten-year ban from entry into the United States.

Of course, critics of this kind of system point to its potential for abuse or violations of individual civil liberties.

Allowing the government to keep a massive database of pictures and records of where people are coming and going makes some people uncomfortable, needless to say.

Yet it doesn’t seem like anything is going to stop the facial recognition software from rolling out to a US airport near you in the future.

What do you think of facial recognition technology? As always, we'd love to know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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