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Faces Are Being Scanned At US Airports With No Safeguards on Data Use

schwit1 writes:
The program makes boarding an international flight a breeze: Passengers step up to the gate, get their photo taken and proceed onto the plane. There is no paper ticket or airline app. Thanks to facial recognition technology, their face becomes their boarding pass…. The problem confronting thousands of travelers, is that few companies participating in the program, called the Traveler Verification Service, give explicit guarantees that passengers’ facial recognition data will be protected.
And even though the program is run by the Department of Homeland Security, federal officials say they have placed no limits on how participating companies — mostly airlines but also cruise lines — can use that data or store it, opening up travelers’ most personal information to potential misuse and abuse such as being sold or used to track passengers’ whereabouts.
The Department of Homeland Security is now using the data to track foreigners overstaying their visas, according to the Times. “After passengers’ faces are scanned at the gate, the scan is sent to Customs and Border Protection and linked with other personally identifying data, such as date of birth and passport and flight information.”

But the face scans are collected by independent companies, and Border Protection officials insist they have no control over how that data gets used.


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