About-face? US border agency scraps plans for mandatory facial recognition scans for American travelers
Added 12-05-19 08:37:03pm EST - “The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has reversed course on plans to submit Americans to compulsory biometric scans at airports across the country, following a wave of intense pushback to the privacy-eroding proposal.” - Rt.com
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“There are no current plans to require US citizens to provide photographs upon entry and exit from the United States,” a CBP spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday.
CBP intends to have the planned regulatory action regarding US citizens removed from the unified agenda next time it is published.
While Americans currently have the option to decline facial recognition scans when traveling through airports, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans earlier this week to kill that exemption, forcing all travelers, foreigners and US citizens alike, to be photographed.
The idea was roundly condemned by privacy advocates after it was first reported – including the ACLU, which voiced “profound privacy concerns” – but added pressure by lawmakers may have dealt a death blow to the proposal. In its statement, the CBP acknowledged it only scrapped the plan after “consultation with Congress and privacy experts.”
Leading the congressional opposition was Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), a longtime critic of federal agencies’ use of facial recognition technology, who slammed the proposal as “disturbing government coercion.” He celebrated the reversal on social media.
The use of facial recognition technology on US citizens brings up serious concerns of privacy and data security. https://t.co/8H2i0bWPih— House Homeland Security Committee (@HomelandDems) December 5, 2019
I enjoyed speaking at Brookings this morning with my friend Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). We talked about our new legislation designed to protect your privacy from unwarranted facial-recognition surveillance. pic.twitter.com/FsD5fMIOsp— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 5, 2019
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