A pilot program for facial recognition technology is being conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at various prominent airports across the United States.
ABC Newsreports that TSA officials are attempting to improve security and expedite operations as demand continues to soar following the pandemic.
According to the TSA, facial recognition devices are in use at 16 airports, including those in well-known cities such as Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, Orlando, and others. The program is voluntary and reliable.
Upon entering a participating airport, passengers will be required to approach a security checkpoint, insert their photo ID card into the device and look into a small camera. This much-needed adjustment will allow passengers to pass through the checkpoint faster than usual when a TSA officer confirms that the data is accurate. TSA screens 2.4 million passengers every day.
According to TSA authorities, the pilot program has produced positive results to date, and there have been no significant incidents of discrimination based on age, gender, race, or ethnicity. Some policymakers and privacy groups still have concerns about the technology and the security of the data collected.
“We take these privacy concerns and civil rights concerns very seriously, because we touch so many people every day,” identity management capabilities manager Jason Lim told The AP.
As a result of the programs’ increased effectiveness and efficiency, TSA Director David Pekoske stated in April that it would likely become mandatory for all travelers, although no timetable was given. The COVID -19 pandemic prompted the decision to accelerate testing, speeding the transition to non-contact technology.