Delta announced they will be adding facial recognition later this year for its terminal at Atlanta International Airport for all passengers traveling on international flights. The airline claims the biometric facial recognition will be optional, but it is a move that will decrease the time it takes to get through airport security. It will also assist border and pre-flight security authorities before taking off out of the United States. It is the latest facial recognition and trials have begun at Detroit Metropolitan and New York John F. Kennedy airports currently.

What might be convenient for many, has several others arguing if this is even legal. Others believe this is a privacy violation and without approval from Congress, it could be illegal.

“As part of President Trump’s travel ban executive order he called for the expedited completion and implementation of the biometric entry-exit tracking program in order to strengthen security across the country,” says News America, “However, privacy and civil liberty advocates have called for DHS to halt the expansion of this $1 billion program based on claims that it is discriminatory and illegal,” they add.

Facial recognition at airports remains a controversial move since it rolled out last year. Six United States airports successfully completed trials in hopes of spreading the idea further out. Delta intends on enforcing the facial recognition proudly saying it “is a natural next step following CBP and Delta’s optional facial recognition boarding tests” at Atlanta International Airport.

Customs and Border Protection previously noted that the motive is to crack down on those with expired visas, but privacy advocates believe that it walks all over an individual’s privacy rights.  Delta spokesperson Kathryn Steele told TechCrunch that Delta travelers who don’t want their faces scanned will be given several opportunities to opt-out and can continue to “proceed normally” through security. Although, CBP spokesperson Jennifer Gabris noted only United States citizens can opt out and will have their documents checked manually.

While Delta offers a positive approach to the changes yet to come, Homeland Security struck a different tone last year saying anyone who desires to opt out of facial recognition should “refrain from traveling.”

Biometric data collected by Delta is stored by the government for two weeks, while exit records on citizens and green card holders are held for 15 years, and 75 years for non-immigrant visitors. Homeland Security will continue to expand the program and is ultimately expected to roll out to land borders.

According to TechCrunch, airport biometric scanners caught a traveler last month with a fake passport after using the facial scanners at Washington Dulles airport.

Leave a Reply