Bye Bye Passports, Hello Facial Recognition Check-Ins

Imagine this, your family arrives at your departing airport headed for a two-week trip to Italy. You park, head right for the check-in counter, and pose in front of a camera that scans your face instead of handing over your passport.

 No, the year isn’t 2040, it’s 2020 and that image of your face the check-in clerk took is being sent to a remote system that matches its online database of your ‘passport’ information. 

 This automated passport system isn’t too far off into the future. In fact, part of the automated network has already begun to be rolled out. The US Customs and Border Protection program, which is called Biometric Exit, is being used at 17 United States departure gates. 

 The agency has no plans of stopping there, as they have plan to have 97 perfect of all outbound international travelers scanned by 2021

 "US Customs and Border Protection is changing the face of travel with its cloud-based facial biometric matching service. This matching service is envisioned to replace the need to manually check paper travel documents by providing an automated identity verification process everywhere a traveler shows their travel document across every step in the travel continuum," the agency explained. 

 This new technology will allow for less time spent at check-in and security for most because its network creates a digital template that is unique to you. But research has shown that facial recognition algorithms can have error rates that vary depending on a person's race or gender, meaning some people could face extra screening more often than others. 

 US Customs and Border Protection is working with DHS Science and Technology Directorate and NIST to keep a close eye on the error rates due to an algorithm issue based on race. 

 Tampa International Airport is currently running a pilot of this program on their outbound international flights. The goal is to replace the need for airports to scan your passport. 

 “Tampa International Airport is on the cutting-edge with this new biometric screening technology,” said guest services director Danny Glennon. “This will make the boarding process faster, and eventually, could be used for inbound flights as well. We can’t wait to see the results.”

 At Tampa International, passengers, upon arrival, walk to a mounted tablet at the boarding gate where their faces are scanned and matched up with a profile in the database. 

 Once the pilot is complete, they are looking to roll the technology out to all of its outbound flights. 

 Here at Extract, we are excited to see technologies creating efficiencies in various industries, with security and accuracy. We have been delivering highly accurate redaction and data capture solutions for more than 15 years. Contact us today if you would like to learn more. Or check out a few case studies that highlight customer successes. 


About the Author: Taylor Genter

Taylor is the Marketing Specialist at Extract with experience in data analytics, graphic design, and both digital and social media marketing.  She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater. Taylor enjoys analyzing people’s behaviors and attitudes to find out what motivates them, and then curating better ways to communicate with them.