DHS Wanted To Add US Citizens To The Long List Of People Subjected To Mandatory Face Scans At Airports... But Has Backed Down For Now

from the smile-like-you-want-to-travel,-citizen dept

We knew the DHS would get to this point eventually. Since the beginning of its biometric scanning program rollout, the DHS has planned on adding US citizens to the list of people forced to trade their faces for air travel privileges. So far, the program has been limited to suspicious foreigners (which is all of them, including those here on visas), but a recent filing -- caught by Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch -- says flying in the United States would soon require adding yourself to the government's facial recognition databases.

Homeland Security wants to expand facial recognition checks for travelers arriving to and departing from the U.S. to also include citizens, which had previously been exempt from the mandatory checks.

In a filing, the department has proposed that all travelers, and not just foreign nationals or visitors, will have to complete a facial recognition check before they are allowed to enter the U.S., but also to leave the country.

The Department of Homeland Security's excuse for subjecting US citizens to mandatory face scans is the homeland's security. Here's the DHS in its own words:

To facilitate the implementation of a seamless biometric entry-exit system that uses facial recognition and to help prevent persons attempting to fraudulently use U.S. travel documents and identify criminals and known or suspected terrorists, DHS is proposing to amend the regulations to provide that all travelers, including U.S. citizens, may be required to be photographed upon entry and/or departure.

"May be required" should actually read "will be required." The DHS's privacy assessment of its biometric scanning efforts noted that opting out of biometric scanning means never leaving the country:

[T]he only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling…

The government would like to get to know its legal residents better, it would appear. It hopes to be able to put faces to names with an acceptable degree of accuracy. What's acceptable to the DHS probably won't be acceptable to travelers, but travelers aren't making the rules. Travelers are only subjected to them.

The only thing preventing this program from becoming China is the DHS's inefficiency -- or a massive public outcry. After this story started making news this week, DHS suddenly decided to put it on pause for the time being. Of course, it still has until next year to roll out biometric scanning to the 20 largest airports in the country. It's been working on this for a few years now and has yet to roll this out completely to its test markets. Whatever gains are made in facial recognition accuracy will hopefully arrive in time to keep the lowest bidders from endangering the freedoms of travelers just looking to exit or enter their home country. Even if DHS is backing down on scanning Americans, it's not clear it's backing down on its overall commitment to facial scanning technology.

The weak promise the DHS gave months ago about keeping Americans out of this was quickly broken to better facilitate the treatment of citizens and visa holders as terrorists every time they board a flight that crosses US borders -- so I wouldn't put much faith in its latest promise not to go there any more. The DHS and its large adult son, the TSA, have done very little to make traveling more secure. But when there's billions of budgetary dollars at stake, you can't be too careful. The money must be spent and those who firmly believe something must be done to secure the nation will see some things being done. Whatever collateral damage this does to Americans and their trust in the federal government is apparently acceptable.

Filed Under: biometrics, cbp, dhs, facial recognition, facial scanning, tsa


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 3:34am

    Ah, the Department of Homeland Security — a government department that didn’t exist before 9/11, was somehow absolutely necessary after 9/11, and has done far more to make citizens of the “homeland” feel less secure than virtually any other agency or department in the federal government. The fact that it also runs the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency doesn’t help DHS’s reputation, either.

    (Abolish ICE. Abolish DHS.)

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    • identicon
      R/O/G/S, 6 Dec 2019 @ 4:23am

      Re:

      Well, these DHS measures are clearly to prevent another HolodmorHolocaust

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    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 12:25pm

      Re:

      Abolish DHS

      So you think it's a good idea to flush the Secret Service and just hope no one bothers to try and kill the president?

      (I'm sure no shortage of commenters here wouldn't mind that at all with regard to this president, but what about the next one?)

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 12:30pm

        The Secret Service existed long before DHS ever did; the Secret Service can still exist if DHS were abolished today. Whatever your point was here, it isn’t a good one.

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        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 12:50pm

          Re:

          The Secret Service existed long before DHS ever did

          Yes, but it's part of DHS now, so if you abolish DHS, the USSS goes with it.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 3:13pm

            If you think the United States federal government would disband the Secret Service as part of the abolishment of DHS, you’re more of a fool than you let on.

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            • icon
              btr1701 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 3:41pm

              Re:

              If you think the United States federal government would disband the Secret Service as part of the abolishment of DHS, you’re more of a fool than you let on.

              If you think the United States federal government would disband DHS, you’re more of a fool than you let on.

              Nevertheless, that's the argument you're making. And if you're NOT advocating disbanding the entities within DHS when you disband DHS itself, all you're actually doing at that point is just changing the names on the letterhead. There won't be any actual change in practice. so what's the point?

              And why wouldn't I think you're talking about dissolving the Secret Service when you stump for disbanding DHS? You also want to "abolish ICE" and throw our borders wide open for anyone and anyone who just wants to wander in. Given that insanity, why would I assume you want to leave the Secret Service intact when you shout "Disband DHS"?

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 5:23pm

                And if you're NOT advocating disbanding the entities within DHS when you disband DHS itself, all you're actually doing at that point is just changing the names on the letterhead.

                And that’s any different from putting the Secret Service underneath the purview of DHS…how, exactly?

                You also want to "abolish ICE" and throw our borders wide open for anyone and anyone who just wants to wander in.

                Ahaha, the old “you want open borders” canard. Two things about that.

                1. You can’t point to a single instance of my saying that, so you can’t say I hold that position without looking dishonest. Continue to tell that lie and I can justifiably call you a liar.

                2. Immigration enforcement didn’t need ICE before 9/11. And considering how ICE runs roughshod over human rights within that so-called Constitution-free zone within 100 miles of all U.S. borders, immigration enforcement doesn’t need ICE now. We can enforce immigration laws without needing concentration camps and federal agents with broad powers who believe immigrants (legal or otherwise) as less than human and act according to that believe.

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                • icon
                  btr1701 (profile), 7 Dec 2019 @ 1:46am

                  Re:

                  You can’t point to a single instance of my saying that, so you can’t say I hold that position without looking dishonest.

                  ICE is responsible for border security.

                  You want to abolish ICE.

                  That leaves us with no border security.

                  (Unless you're just changing the name again, in which case, what's the point?)

                  Immigration enforcement didn’t need ICE before 9/11.

                  Sure it did. It was just called something else. They just changed the letterhead. It was stupid when they did it, and it's even stupider for you guys who supposedly want to "abolish ICE" to advocate for that now. (If that's what you're doing. You're being conveniently vague about that.)

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                  • icon
                    Wyrm (profile), 11 Dec 2019 @ 10:19am

                    Re: Re:

                    Quick note about the alphabet soup here.
                    ICE is not tasked with border enforcement and immigration control. CBP is.
                    ICE is a taskforce created after 9/11 to "enforce" immigration within the borders. So basically finding illegals immigrants and "escorting" them out... when they don't reveal themselves through being arresting for some other crime. Which means, they are the ones pushing illegal but otherwise harmless immigrants out. Not the "bad hombre" Trump was talking about at some point.

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                • icon
                  btr1701 (profile), 7 Dec 2019 @ 1:49am

                  Re:

                  And that’s any different from putting the Secret Service underneath the purview of DHS…how, exactly?

                  It's not. It was stupid when they transferred the USSS out of Treasury 'just because' and it'd be just as stupid to do it again for no other reason other than so guys like you can do a victory fist-pump for 'abolishing DHS', yet leave everything in DHS intact with different letterhead.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2019 @ 8:39am

                    Re: Re:

                    You've conveniently forgotten that, prior to DHS, ICE, etc, we had border and port security. When people advocate for the abolition of DHS and friends they're advocating for a return to the way things were prior to the creation of DHS, not the abolition of every department and function now within the purview of DHS.

                    Are you being intentionally obtuse or are you really that dense? It's one of the two.

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                    • icon
                      btr1701 (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 2:08pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      You've conveniently forgotten that, prior to DHS, ICE, etc, we had border and port security.

                      So you're "abolish ICE" nonsense is just changing the letterhead, then. Same enforcement, just different name on the front of the building.

                      What's the point of that?

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Dec 2019 @ 2:07pm

                    ICE is responsible for border security. You want to abolish ICE. That leaves us with no border security.

                    We had border security before ICE. Quit being ignorant for the sake of an argument.

                    it's even stupider for you guys who supposedly want to "abolish ICE" to advocate for that now

                    We can have border security without ICE. Quit acting like the objection is to border security as a whole and not the specific department, created under a wave of Muslim-centric xenophobia, which has run roughshod all over the rights of citizens and non-citizens alike with little-to-no real oversight or accountability.

                    guys like you can do a victory fist-pump for 'abolishing DHS', yet leave everything in DHS intact with different letterhead

                    I am for abolishing DHS (“Homeland Security” sounds too authoritarian to me anyway), re-examining each of its sub-agencies, enacting true oversight and accountability for all of those agencies, and enabling border security policies that don’t treat “border jumpers” as less-than-human targets for a bunch of wannabe Punishers in federal uniforms.

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                    • icon
                      btr1701 (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 2:11pm

                      Re:

                      We had border security before ICE. We can have border security without ICE.

                      Maybe you don't realize that the same guys who were working border security before ICE are the same ones who became ICE.

                      They just changed the letterhead, i.e., the name of the organization. If you "abolish ICE", the same thing will happen again. The same guys you think are jackbooted thugs will still be doing the same job, enforcing the same laws, just under a different name.

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 1:42am

                    Re: Re:

                    "...yet leave everything in DHS intact with different letterhead."

                    Oh stop. Before the DHS everything you mention - ports, border security, the USSS - all worked just fine.

                    The DHS was implemented as a political gesture in order to address 9/11 where politicians blamed "lack of cooperation between organizations" as the reason why terrorists were able to pull off something that harmful on US soil.

                    Conveniently forgetting that the reason those terrorists were'nt apprehended was because political pressure forced the feds to back down.

                    The DHS is - at best - a political tool and a job lot. At worst it's a consolidated effort to ensure actual citizenry in the US have a harder time to fend off government encroachment on those inconvenient rights of theirs, turning what should be state-owned organizations into obedient puppets under the federal structure.

                    And the most hilarious part here is that the biggest backer is the republicans who should be all for SMALLER government.

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                    • icon
                      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 7:17am

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      They never have been. "Big Government" has always meant "welfare for poor people." They always clam up when it means "expansion of government intrusion into people's personal lives."

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                      • icon
                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 3:03am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "They never have been. "Big Government" has always meant "welfare for poor people." They always clam up when it means "expansion of government intrusion into people's personal lives.""

                        Not so. The republicans mere, most notably, quite true to the creed they currently spout in mindless defiance of reality.

                        Around 1930-1940 Roosevelt's "new deal" was meant to fix a US almost broken under the great depression of the 20's. It massively swelled the government and introduced unemployment relief and reform of the social sector while introducing a number of safeguards on banking and industry.

                        It also cemented the democrats as a force in support of liberal egalitarianism with a great many programs instituted to even the scales between black and white.

                        The new deal series of programs not only split the republican party between those who saw the necessity of the skyrocketing government intervention and the conservatives who opposed it. It also ensured almost every colored citizen migrated from the "Party of Lincoln" to the democrats and had the traditionally democratic southern racists move from democrat to republican.

                        Around 1950 the switch was complete. The democrats had gained the vast majority of previously republican colored citizenry and almost every racist and bigot had migrated to the republicans. Of which quite a lot of very monetized southern magnates.

                        This, you can imagine, did some interesting things to either party's perception and message of individual liberty.

                        The republicans used to be a mixed bag of conservatives and liberal conservatives where the democrats were a mixed bag of progressive liberals and old money.

                        Today every liberal is a democrat and all the republicans are conservatives. And that has been the case only since roughly the 50's when both parties did a 180 degree turn on several core policies.

                        Even so the republicans didn't become the party of the racists, the bigoted religious and the batshit insane until around the 80's when the neoconservatives gained traction, and the 2000's when the republicans doubled down on the insanity by also going avidly populist, catering to the bottom of their potential barrel of voters.

                        ...and that leads us to today when a small and shrinking core of old-style conservatives no longer recognize the inflammatory and deceitful used car salesmen, badly disguised Klansmen and narcissistic fraudsters they have to rub shoulders with.

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                        • icon
                          Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 3:08am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Not so. The republicans mere, most notably, quite true to the creed they currently spout in mindless defiance of reality.

                          Okay, but since Reagan "Big Government," i.e. more intrusion into our personal lives, and indeed more government departments, have gotten bigger. We both agree that the advent of the Neocons and the Moral Majority sent them nuts.

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                          • icon
                            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Dec 2019 @ 3:09am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            "Okay, but since Reagan "Big Government," i.e. more intrusion into our personal lives, and indeed more government departments, have gotten bigger. We both agree that the advent of the Neocons and the Moral Majority sent them nuts."

                            Yup. The timeline is important here, especially when so very many american political debates are now centered around keywords which do NO LONGER hold the common english dictionary-definition of the terms.

                            And that's important whenever someone starts debating about "the party of lincoln" or "republican values" since, for most purposes, that stopped being true around 1960 and onwards.

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                    • icon
                      btr1701 (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 2:13pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      Before the DHS everything you mention - ports, border security, the USSS - all worked just fine.

                      Apparently not, since we had about 14 million illegal aliens in the country by the time ICE came into existence.

                      That's not "just fine" border security under any sane definition of the term.

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                      • icon
                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Dec 2019 @ 3:14am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "Apparently not, since we had about 14 million illegal aliens in the country by the time ICE came into existence."

                        "Research shows that illegal immigrants increase the size of the U.S. economy/contribute to economic growth, enhance the welfare of natives, contribute more in tax revenue than they collect, reduce American firms' incentives to offshore jobs and import foreign-produced goods, and benefit consumers by reducing the prices of goods and services."

                        • The congressional budget office, among other sources holding similar views.

                        Why the hell would you describe actions that would harm your economy, tax revenue, and benefit the citizenry as a whole as "fine"?

                        The whole mess around immigration to begin with is that for some inexplicable reason the US has decided that a generally beneficial trend needs to be fought, and is willing to defend that stance to the point where it ends in dictionary-definition concentration camps.

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 1:34am

            Re: Re:

            "Yes, but it's part of DHS now, so if you abolish DHS, the USSS goes with it."

            Put it right back under the treasury where it managed to do it's job without being burdened by having been forcibly inserted under a command structure run by some political stooge.

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            • icon
              btr1701 (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 2:18pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              without being burdened by having been forcibly inserted under a command structure run by some political stooge.

              Actually, the USSS is completely outside the command structure of DHS. As part of the DHS enabling statute, the USSS reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Unlike all of the other agencies in DHS, there is no byzantine bureaucracy of middle management and under-secretaries over the Secret Service. The USSS director's immediate superior is the Secretary him/herself.

              As for 'political stooges', the DHS Secretary is no more or less of one than is the Treasury Secretary. So either way, the USSS would have to deal with such a person.

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Dec 2019 @ 3:21am

                Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Actually, the USSS is completely outside the command structure of DHS."

                So no problem losing the secret service just because the DHS is abolished, then?

                "As for 'political stooges', the DHS Secretary is no more or less of one than is the Treasury Secretary."

                Actually...yes. In practice, much like the DoJ, the DHS is a political contested potato heavily subjected to regulatory capture.

                The treasury is not in the same position historically. Partially because it's far harder to obfuscate and spin treasury numbers than soft data like crime estimates and causes, or the ever-popular terrorist menace.

                And partially because it does little good to set a stooge in the treasury. Far easier to convince the sheeple the sky is falling by having the FBI or DoJ chief telling them they'll all be murdered in their beds tomorrow unless emergency measures are adopted than it is by having the treasury boss drone for half an hour on possible falling interest rates.

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                • icon
                  btr1701 (profile), 11 Dec 2019 @ 2:24pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Oh, please. Every political appointee is someone's 'stooge', by definition. Look up Tim Geithner and AIG bonuses (along with TurboTax) for examples of how a Treasury Secretary can be a political stooge.

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Dec 2019 @ 1:07am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Every political appointee is someone's 'stooge', by definition. Look up Tim Geithner and AIG bonuses (along with TurboTax) for examples of how a Treasury Secretary can be a political stooge."

                    From what I remember the AIG bonuses (i assume you mean AIG using the bailout money for them) left the politicians with their pants down because the only people who could FIX the problem of the toxic mess AIG had dumped the taxpayers and their 401(k)s in were the same people who had CAUSED the mess.

                    That's not being a stooge so much as it is having to deal with the result of a lack of government regulation on shady banking, in the end.

                    Yes, you CAN make sure to have a political partisan stooge man the helm of ANY government agency...but it's pretty telling that the treasury is a low-priority target compared to one which let's the brown-nosing fink holding the job intimidate the entire voter base on behalf of his/her paymasters.

                    Either way the DHS was never intended to accomplish jack shit when it came to crime fighting and counterespionage. It was a 100% political hack job meant to slap another layer of secrecy over the political considerations which forced the FBI to let the 9/11 conspirators go all the way to crashing into the twin towers because they'd been ordered to back off from further monitoring known religious fanatics from wealthy saudi families.

                    The first director of the DHS - Tom ridge - admitted, in his memoirs, that he was under political pressure to use his new department as a political tool, raising terror alerts in the time just preceding the 2004 presidential elections.

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                    • icon
                      btr1701 (profile), 27 Dec 2019 @ 8:29pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      but it's pretty telling that the treasury is a low-priority target compared to one which let's the brown-nosing fink holding the job intimidate the entire voter base on behalf of his/her paymasters.

                      You're fucking kidding, right?

                      The Treasury Department runs the IRS. There's no easier and more effective way for a brown-nosing fink to "intimidate the entire voter base" than with the IRS.

                      The first director of the DHS - Tom ridge - admitted, in his memoirs, that he was under political pressure to use his new department as a political tool, raising terror alerts in the time just preceding the 2004 presidential elections.

                      And the Treasury Department and the IRS were used by the Obama Administration to discriminate against conservative political organizations and deny them the same tax-free status given to 'progressive' political organizations.

                      The Treasury Department was also used by the Obama Administration to discriminate against legal businesses that leftists don't like. Gun stores, for example, had their bank accounts and ability to process payments shut down by banks bowing to pressure from the Treasury Department. Google "Operation Chokepoint" for details.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 28 Dec 2019 @ 3:11am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "And the Treasury Department and the IRS were used by the Obama Administration to discriminate against conservative political organizations and deny them the same tax-free status given to 'progressive' political organizations."

                        That certainly was the excuse that right wingers gave when they got caught openly violating the tax laws relating to their organisations. You know, like when they filed for tax exemptions that should only apply to non political organisations while their names announced themselves as political actors?

                        Perhaps the real reason is because they were just trying to scam you out of tax dollars at a higher rate than liberals were?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 3:40am

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

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  • identicon
    Jim, 6 Dec 2019 @ 4:50am

    Time to grow a beard.

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  • identicon
    Peter, 6 Dec 2019 @ 5:04am

    Thin end of the wedge?

    The last time I touched American soil for a refueling stop, they took the fingerprint and picture of every person on the flight. And this wasfor just a refueling stop were we were not even allowed past the holding area.

    If it is just face scans now, why stop at that and require fingerprints as well?

    (PS. Anyone believe that they dont take photos and are trialing facial scanning of EVERYONE now anyway?)

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    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      They don't seem to be limiting this just to planes. So when you drive across the border are you going to have to get out of your car and pose for pictures now? Talk about backing up the process-- people will be waiting for hours to drive through.

      (I hardly think a through-the-windshield picture of the driver would suffice with all the glare and refraction issues, plus that doesn't take into account all the passengers in the car. Are we going to have whole families having to pile out onto the pavement and line up to be photographed?)

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2019 @ 6:29am

        Re: Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        "So when you drive across the border are you going to have to get out of your car and pose for pictures now?"

        I predict they will require vehicle manufacturers to incorporate a prerequisite function requirement that will disable vehicle until every occupant is scanned, uploaded and cleared. Not sure if a travel plan submittal will be required beforehand.

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        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 2:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          Even if that comes to pass, that doesn't take into account the millions of vehicles currently on the roads that don't have any of that tech.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 1:46am

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      "The last time I touched American soil for a refueling stop, they took the fingerprint and picture of every person on the flight."

      Ironically we europeans used to tell each others stories like this about the old USSR and China. Ghost stories about totalitarian governments shit-scared of not having FULL CONTROL over everyone.

      Now we're reading those ghost stories about...the USA.

      I still wonder what happened. Europe has had to deal with one terrorist group after the other, domestic or foreign...and we STILL aren't at the point of frenzied hysteria the US - that land of the free and home of the brave - seems to be in.

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  • identicon
    David, 6 Dec 2019 @ 5:22am

    The funny thing is that it's discriminating against minorities

    Well, not funny. But face recognition technology works for discriminating feature sets in its design and training sets, and at least the design sets are heavily skewed towards the feature sets of the developing researchers.

    So false positives will be much more likely with faces that "look all the same" to the researchers because they pick their training feature criteria by what makes a difference to them and with their immediately available core test persons.

    And then guess how the feedback will be weighted according to who has the means to sue over it.

    And then of course, we got agent discretion. If the software just flags everyone, you still win because "you are black and that looks suspicious to me" just sounds worse than "the software flagged you" (and while it flags everyone, the white ones look unsuspicious to me so I let them pass).

    Basically, train the machine to take the blame for what humans are not allowed to do.

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  • icon
    Chris-Mouse (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 5:23am

    They just want an excuse.

    Facial scanning technology is nowhere near even 90% accurate. Even if they waved a magic wand and got it up to 99.9% accurate it's still not good enough.
    The major airport near me handles about 4 million passengers each month. At 99.9% accuracy, that's still 130 false alarms each and every day.

    What they want to do is use the system as an excuse to harass travelers. It might be that brown skinned individual the racist operator doesn't like, or it might be the pretty woman the pervert operator wants an excuse to grope. It might also be an excuse for the DHS to send more tax money to enrich some corporation.

    Any way you look at it, the facial recognition machine would be better labeled as an excuse machine.

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    • identicon
      David, 6 Dec 2019 @ 6:08am

      Re: They just want an excuse.

      What they want to do is use the system as an excuse to harass travelers.

      They probably asked for farcical scanning technology and budgeting was short of letters.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 6:09am

    Stop being so generous

    " The DHS and its large adult son, the TSA, have done very little to make traveling more secure"

    Why are you being so kind to them? They have done nothing but waste taxpayer money

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 6:14am

    After implementation of such a system, what is done when a person suffers from facial injuries resulting in failure of the system to "recognize" them anymore?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 6:27am

      Re:

      Back in my day, we had facial recognition all the time. It was called staffers looking at photo ID.

      Guess what they'll do in the case of facial injuries, or new hairdos, or the other 1-in-a-thousand cases they were going to handle in the best of cases?

      Shows the validity of their pretext, don't it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 6:19am

    Necessary Precaution

    Face Scans at airports are for your own safety!

    To protect you from "bad people". Terrible, horrible people who would violate your rights and restrict your freedom of movement and association.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 6:47am

      Re: Necessary Precaution

      So the face scans will catch TSA agents and let passengers go about their business?

      Your post was either sarcastic or demonstrative of your complete and utter lack of understanding of what's really happening. So which is it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:22am

      Re: Necessary Precaution

      Does that protection include the increased chance that the good people will SWAT your home, because your face is in a database, and gets matched while the real criminals is not in the database to be matched?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    spamvictim (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 6:25am

    There's other ways in and out of the country

    I'm surprised they left a giant loophole for us unpatriotic people who live so close to the border that we enter and leave the US in our cars, or occasionally on foot or in a boat (all quite legally.)
    I also am trying to imagine how they would do exit scanning of people in cars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Avatar28 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:02am

      Re: There's other ways in and out of the country

      You have to go through a checkpoint to get into Canada or Mexico, right? So either they make a deal with them to have Canada do it and pass the information on or they expand their inbound checkpoint to cover both sides of the road and when you leave you have to stop and get scanned and then stop again at the Canadian immigration station.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:09am

      Re: There's other ways in and out of the country

      I imagine The goal, would be once the tech is rolled out in airports as a training tool to get some level of accuracy, they can install passive cameras which can scan your face as you cross the border.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:22am

        Re: Re: There's other ways in and out of the country

        I imagine the goal is to try to improve the technology (but only to appease the most strident objectors) enough to roll it out...everywhere. Every telephone pole, every stop light, every street light, every cop with a camera, every every etc..

        The thing is, will it be used to catch more criminals, or terrorists, or objectors, or to hassle a sufficient number of people to put the rest of us in a more submissive state of mind?

        I think the likelihood of that latter one is much too strong a possibility to be ignored.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 12:33pm

        Re: Re: There's other ways in and out of the country

        they can install passive cameras which can scan your face as you cross the border.

        But that only captures the driver. What about the five other passengers in the SUV?

        No, the only way they can do this with cars is to literally make everyone get out of every car and pose for a picture.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 7:29am

    Sneaky sneaky

    I'm surprised you all didn't mention the work around they have going with airlines like Delta, who've been slowly creeping facial scanning in place of check-ins and boarding passes. Why have TSA/DHS do it when passengers will willingly do it for the airlines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 7:40am

      Re: Sneaky sneaky

      Where did you get the willingly part? To some extent if the choice is to give in or not fly, it isn't always 'willingly'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

        This traveler don't fly. Fuck em. To hell with them. And go face yourself. The day after 911 and a couple days subsequent, when the airtraffic was grounded in US, I thought, "Damn, this sounds good. No noisy jets in the air overhead." Let the world get back to the way it used to be. Aeronautics is going to be the death of us all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

          "This traveler don't fly."

          In that case you're probably not that well travelled.

          "I thought, "Damn, this sounds good. No noisy jets in the air overhead.""

          Did you ever think of the important things that the aircraft were doing while you thought that, or do you think they only exist to annoy people who choose to live near airports?

          "Let the world get back to the way it used to be."

          He says using a technology that's far newer than air travel...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 9:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

            No other technology exists that will enable an airborne pathogen world access so quickly. I travelled around the world before terrorism really became a thing. Back when most of the world still trusted the US government. Everything has changed. The local economies would once again have to rely much more on local resources and it would be a friendlier world with no jet travel imo.

            I hitchhiked from Dania Florida to Valdez Alaska starting Jan 16, 1991 the day the airstrikes start ousting Sadam Hussein from Kuwait. That trip lasted 3-1/2 months. Along the way I partied in Las Vegas, built a sauna, roofed a horse barn, steered a 58' Seiner up the inside passage at night for three days straight, walked into Canada and was on a boat working the same day I arrived in Valdez. You should try that some day. You so smugly suppose I am not a travelled person. I have travelled through 48 states with the exception of Maine and Hawaii. I have lived in Ten of them. That qualifies me as a junior traveller at least.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 12:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

              "No other technology exists that will enable an airborne pathogen world access so quickly."

              So, you'd happily destroy all of the benefits of air travel because you're afraid of a doomsday scenario? OK, I guess.

              "it would be a friendlier world with no jet travel imo"

              Making it virtually impossible for modern international business and tourism to exist as it does now will make things "friendlier"?

              "I have travelled through 48 states with the exception of Maine and Hawaii. I have lived in Ten of them. That qualifies me as a junior traveller at least."

              I do love it when Americans think that not leaving the borders of the country they happen to have spawned in qualifies as "travel".

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 7:21am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

                Given the vast diversity between the states it actually does, Paul. America doesn't have a monoculture despite what the telly tells us.

                The US is so flippin' vast it's unsurprising they think it's the world. That said, it wouldn't hurt to leave their borders and discover the rest of the world.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 9 Dec 2019 @ 8:16am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

                  Oh, I understand that and have visited the states myself numerous times.

                  I just notice that when people talk in a certain way about this kind of subject they're not even considering international travel, and certainly not pan-continental flights. Which means that they're not even attempting to consider how these things work in reality for a lot of trips. I'm glad the guy has experienced as much of his country as he has, but that doesn't mean that the world will be better if people are forced to use other transport for other type of trip.

                  Basically, anyone who thinks they're well travelled but haven't actually experienced a completely foreign culture really aren't. I apply this to Brits as well as Americans, but the criteria is different (Americans often haven't left their country, whereas Brits will tend to fly somewhere and demand that everything is the same as home except the weather).

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 3:10am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

                    Brits will tend to fly somewhere and demand that everything is the same as home except the weather

                    I've seen that. Colonisation by any other name is still colonisation...!

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2019 @ 3:10am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

                    "Basically, anyone who thinks they're well travelled but haven't actually experienced a completely foreign culture really aren't."

                    An old problem.
                    Back in the days of the british empire any of the frequent travellers to asia or africa who actually tried to experience the local culture was casually put down as "having gone native".
                    Similar to what you find in old roman bibliographies about life in the provinces.

                    I once spoke with a scottish geologist who had the fortune of spending a lot of time in kuwait and saudi arabia outside of the usual westernized enclaves. He was very clear that to most travellers all they'd ever see would be a little carefully constructed slice of home where they'd stand little chance of outrageously upsetting the locals.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 10:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

            What's the capital T for in your Techdirt profile name, TRITE? You are experiencing some self worth issues? You feel the need to pick apart every line of a person's comment? That's funny, but also a little sad. Don't assume you are so well versed in life's experiences and others are not. It sucks to read such critical non-analysis in Techdirt comments.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Norahc (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 9:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

          This traveler don't fly. Fuck em. To hell with them. And go face yourself. The day after 911 and a couple days subsequent, when the airtraffic was grounded in US, I thought, "Damn, this sounds good. No noisy jets in the air overhead." Let the world get back to the way it used to be. Aeronautics is going to be the death of us all.

          So what are you going to do when they deploy this tech in their arbitrary 100-mile Constitution free border zones then?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 12:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

          when the airtraffic was grounded in US, I thought, "Damn, this sounds good. No noisy jets in the air overhead."

          Do you live next to an airport or something, because I have that "no noisy jets overhead" experience every single day even when the planes are flying.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 5:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Sneaky sneaky

            I worked under a corridor of air traffic of Stewart Airport in New Jersey or New York down south somewhere. It was very unusual in those three or four days not hearing jets all the time. It was a stark reminder of the power of DC to halt airtraffic. I was pumping gas on the morning just before the first jet struck the North Tower. Usually I would hear those jets to my west, but that morning I heard the roar and low rumble of a jet to my back facing east. As I pulled into the jobsite, I was met by the homeowner running to meet me reporting the incident. For any accounts from people who say it didn't happen that the jet was following the Hudson river, I can testify it was.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:13am

    Big deal - not

    They already demand passports with photos to enter the country, photos which have been scanned and stored in a DHS database.

    And they check those passports when you enter the US.

    So if you travel they have your digitized photo and a complete record of your entries (and probably most of your exits).

    What would this change, really? Not much. It just double-checks the immigration officer's comparison of your photo to your face at the little interview booth.

    I'm not happy about the whole security theater situation, but we have to be realistic about what's worth a fight and what isn't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 8:24am

      Re: Big deal - not

      The whole police state mentality behind the security theatre is well worth fighting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Dec 2019 @ 7:19am

      Piece by piece, until nothing remains

      Rights, protections and/or privacy aren't removed in one go, they are chipped away at, bit by bit, until what may have been rock solid protections/rights/privacy years or decades back is now nothing but a shell, one you are assured is just as strong as before by those that have eroded them from within, and where 'rights' have gradually morphed into 'privileges', able to be revoked at a whim 'for the greater good/national security/public safety'.

      Just like there's a difference between a cop being able to run a set of plates against a database if they suspect something illegal may have occurred and every plate being scanned and checked by automated systems there's a large difference between double-checking someone's passport if something feels off and checking everyone that passes through an area 'just in case/because it can be done'.

      One of those is much more invasive than the other, and if you give something a pass under the mistaken impression that it's not that different from what was done before then you've allowed what is considered 'acceptable' to shift and become the new normal, and the next change will be ever so farther still, until the origin point is nothing but a distant memory and you're left wondering just how things got so bad since every little step was only 'just a little more' from the previous point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Dec 2019 @ 1:12am

      Re: Big deal - not

      "What would this change, really? Not much. It just double-checks the immigration officer's comparison of your photo to your face at the little interview booth."

      Actually, it would.

      Imagine a false positive. If the guy checking your face personally thinks you look shady s/he will ask you further questions.

      If the algorithm checking your face makes a false positive an alert goes to the armed personnel that "Iznogoud ben childkiller, known suicide bomber candidate" is standing in the booth, wearing a wig and a false beard.

      Instead of being asked questions you reach for your wallet or smartphone and end up with a .9 mm cranial hemorrhage courtesy of your local TSA security representative.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 10:10am

    ALREADY DONE

    https://www.tsa.gov/real-id They are using the DMV system from state to state.. Beginning October 1, 2020, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. Check for the star. REAL ID-compliant cards are marked with a star at the top of the card. If you’re not sure, contact your state driver’s license agency on how to obtain a REAL ID compliant card. https://www.dhs.gov/real-id whats kinda strange about all this.. Is the requirements.. Visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency website to find out exactly what documentation is required to obtain a REAL ID. At a minimum, you must provide documentation showing: 1) Full Legal Name; 2) Date of Birth; 3) Social Security Number; 4) Two Proofs of Address of Principal Residence; and 5) Lawful Status. Starting out as a teen looking for ID or Drivers license.. whats possible here?? And how are they going to Prove your Birth certificate?? residence is going to be fun, as a teen. Then comes he best part.. How can this all be used, by the state? By the Gov. (if its ever used)? State and gov. could of done this years ago. Without the star. because we needed about the same thing in the past.. In the places I was raised. this is only requesting that ADULTS are now needed to verify the data AGAIN. hoiw could the elections be monitored?? Will they compare pictures state to state?? which could be a good thing. Are they going to Trace every ID when we have a police stop?? Make a REAL Federally created ID system??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 10:11am

      Re: ALREADY DONE

      Love how your Txt formatting removes all formatting??

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2019 @ 11:27am

      Re: ALREADY DONE

      Beginning October 1, 2020, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.......

      So, if you cannot get a driving license, you cannot fly. That is tough on anybody who is blind, autistic etc.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 11:35am

        Re: Re: ALREADY DONE

        I know California offers ID's via the DMV rather than Drivers Licenses that qualify for 'Real ID', and I imagine that other states do as well.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 6 Dec 2019 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re: ALREADY DONE

        So, if you cannot get a driving license, you cannot fly.

        No, a passport will be acceptable. Blind and autistic people can get those.

        Also, every state issues ID cards that are just like driver licenses except you can't drive with them. Blind and autistic people can get those, too.

        My question is that since a RealID (or its equivalent) will be required to not only fly on a plane, but to enter a federal building, what happens when someone is called for jury duty (or as a witness in a case) and they show up to the federal courthouse with an old-style driver license? Will they be denied entry? Will "they wouldn't let me in the building" be a valid excuse for not showing up to court for jury selection?

        Personally, I'm not messing with the whole RealID thing. My passport is valid until 2030, so I'll just use that from now on rather than wasting god knows how much of life in DMV hell trying to get my DL converted over. It's still perfectly fine for driving, so I'll just keep it as is.

        And the reality is, you don't actually need any ID to fly. After all, they have to have procedures for people who show up with no ID through no fault of their own. Say you're on vacation in Hawaii and your wallet gets stolen with your DL in it. Now your vacation is over and you need to fly home. Do they tell you, "Sorry for your mugging, but you're now trapped in Hawaii forever, or until you book a 2-week passage on a steamer ship back to the mainland"? Of course not. There are procedures for people with no ID. It'll take a lot longer to get through security and it'll probably involve going into a back room and waiting while they run database checks and things like that, but you will be able to board your plane eventually.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 9 Dec 2019 @ 10:11am

    Doublespeak

    "[T]he only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling…"

    But that isn't a way to do so "when traveling internationally".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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