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Biometrics at US airports call for tougher checks, bipartisan senators say

It’s called biometric door control – more commonly known as facial recognition technology. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has used it to process over 100 million travelers at airports in the United States. similar to everyday life in communist China.

“My concern is that we don’t want the United States to become China,” U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said in an interview with Fox News.

“There’s a lot to be said about facial recognition with people entering the country, but you should have a different standard for people entering the country who aren’t US citizens than for US citizens,” Blunt added. .

In a letter to CBP earlier this week, Blunt and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., called on authorities to give Americans the option to opt out of facial recognition at airports. They also asked for more transparency.


“Every U.S. citizen should have the ability to make an informed decision whether their passport photo should be manually verified by a CBP officer instead of having their biometrics collected and stored in ways they are unaware of,” write the senators.

“Every American deserves the same right to privacy and should not experience dramatically different airport processing experiences,” the letter adds.

“My concern is that we don’t want the United States to become China.”

— US Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 10, 2020.
(Getty Images)

CBP says on its website that “travelers who do not wish to have their photo taken can always ask CBP to verify their identity directly.”

It’s not just the airports where Blunt sees concern.

For years, Blunt has interrogates how the data of ordinary American citizens is collected and used by Big Tech and private industry.

Blunt wants to know what happens if a US citizen goes to a movie theater and the visit is recorded using facial recognition software, including who you went with. He wants to know what the cinema or the government is doing with the recording. The issue, according to Blunt, is the right to privacy.

Biometrics at US airports call for tougher checks, bipartisan senators say

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

Asked to comment on the senators’ letter, CBP spokeswoman Rhonda Lawson said in a statement, “CBP has received the letter. However, we do not comment on Congressional correspondence. CBP responds directly to senators.

According to the CBP website, biometric technology allows travel to be “more efficient” because it is a hands-free process.

“It helps prevent the spread of germs,” the site adds.

Biometric technology at airports stems from the 9/11 Commission report, which asked CBP to biometrically confirm visitors entering and leaving the United States.

CBP says “facial comparison software does not store traveler biographical data” and retains photos of US citizens for “no more” than 12 hours.


“Our traveler ID verification process is not a surveillance program,” adds CBP.

The senators are demanding a response to their letter early next month.

“At the government level, we have to set standards, and then we have to follow those standards,” Blunt said. “China, for example, has become almost totally controlling based on its facial recognition standards, which is to monitor everyone all the time.

“We don’t want that to happen in our country.”

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