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Facial Recognition Is Coming To US Airports (theverge.com) 148

Facial recognition systems will be coming to U.S. airports in the very near future. "Customs and Border Protection first started testing facial recognition systems at Dulles Airport in 2015, then expanded the tests to New York's JFK Airport last year," reports The Verge. "Now, a new project is poised to bring those same systems to every international airport in America." From the report: Called Biometric Exit, the project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country. Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application. If there's no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally. The system is currently being tested on a single flight from Atlanta to Tokyo, but after being expedited by the Trump administration, it's expected to expand to more airports this summer, eventually rolling out to every international flight and border crossing in the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Larry Panetta, who took over the airport portion of the project in February, explained the advantages of facial recognition at the Border Security Expo last week. "Facial recognition is the path forward we're working on," Panetta said at the conference. "We currently have everyone's photo, so we don't need to do any sort of enrollment. We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of U.S. Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the U.S. and their biometrics are captured into [DHS biometric database] IDENT."
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Facial Recognition Is Coming To US Airports

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  • Beard or no beard. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @06:52PM (#54664803)

    Do you have a beard and you want to shave-it ?
    Are-you planing to get a nice healthy tan for your white skin ?
    Considering another hair colour or coloured contact lenses ?
    If you need to fly, better reconsider until the software comparing the before & after photos gets at least a couple of updates :)

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya@noSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @07:32PM (#54664949)

      If you need to fly, better reconsider until the software comparing the before & after photos gets at least a couple of updates :)

      Isn't it nice, that the guys running this system
      1. Don't care how much they inconvenience you
      2. Don't care how accurate the system is
      3. Don't even care if it catches anyone, because clearly catching terrorists is not directly related to their job performance evaluation

      The only thing they really care about is how much taxpayer money it will cost and maybe how much useful data it will generate for them.

      So given the (theoretical) miracle of free market, where is non-TSA, pre-9-11 airport I can fly from?

      • So given the (theoretical) miracle of free market, where is non-TSA, pre-9-11 airport I can fly from?

        All of them. Just charter a private jet.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          So given the (theoretical) miracle of free market, where is non-TSA, pre-9-11 airport I can fly from?

          All of them. Just charter a private jet.

          Only from smaller airports. And even then you're subject to at least a metal detector and X-Ray unless it's a much smaller airport (i.e., one where tiny Cessna and Piper planes fly out from). But even those may require passengers to use the passenger terminal.

          So you're limited to small private jets up to maybe a Learjet or so. Anything larger will require going to a co

      • So given the (theoretical) miracle of free market, where is non-TSA, pre-9-11 airport I can fly from?

        Nearly all airports outside of the USA. :-)

      • Texas actually tried to pass a law that would kick the TSA out of the state. Actually thats hyperbole sorry, it would have just let Airports in Texas decide to fire the TSA agents, ignore TSA 'guidelines' (that we all know don't actually keep us safe) and instead hire private security that followed their own guidelines. Then the Feds threatened to take away federal licenses from all Texas airports basically making all companies flying out of airports there felons.

        When the government stomps their boot dow
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Facial recognition software doesn't look at beards or tans or anything like that. They look at the geometry of the face. Of course you bank with CapitalOne so I don't expect you to understand much.
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @08:25PM (#54665215) Journal
      Given unique distance data is gathered from all over the face e.g. the ears, eyes, facial hair would have been considered as one of the most easy ways to try and fool the systems over the decades of testing around the world.
      In a very old system a person could try looking up, down, using a hat, very complex glasses, could try and bring a new hair style down over the face.
      A human would quickly notice such attempts and ask the illegal migrant to look at the camera, remove the hat and ensure the system could get an image that matches entry to the USA.
      This is not a CCTV image. Light, position, attempts at deceptive fashion, not been able to get a good image can all be taken into account and be corrected. A lot of funding and work has gone into getting a lot of information from any face in any image e.g. social media, CCTV, side on, a person looking up, down, left, right. More unique data is been capture from all over the face than in past attempts.
    • It is worse than that. Going through Canadian immigration the facial recognition kept telling me to take my hat off... refused to accept a picture. No hat of course... or glasses... or...
  • I love the quote in TFA: “Facial recognition is easy because everyone knows how to take a photo.”

    If you have facial hair, these systems completely fail and you get kicked into the loooooong reject line... every time. Then you get extra scrutiny if you have a beard because, of course, you look like a threat.

    It'd be nice if the systems could improve to the point that they actually worked before being rolled out full-scale. Or if we could move to something actually unique like fingerprints or DNA

    • I'm touched by their faith in their computer systems. One wonders if one of their computers instructed them to shove a power cable up their ass and go screaming, naked, out into the crowds in an airport, if they would follow through...

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @08:53PM (#54665397)

      Then you get extra scrutiny if you have a beard because, of course, you look like a threat.

      This is America, so no change then?

      I kid, kid.

      • by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Thursday June 22, 2017 @05:30AM (#54666831)

        This is America, so no change then?

        I kid, kid.

        I'm not american and I know this is offtopic but I have karma to burn. I admit i laughed at first toó but this doesn't feel like much of a joke after just seeing the recent dashcam footage of a legal firearm owner being summarily executed by an incompetent cop with inadequate/improper training and getting acquitted.

        Forget about the talk of 'racism', this goes far beyond such things. What confuses me the most however is the deafening silence of groups like the NRA who normally make so much noise about upholding gun rights, but now that a law abiding citizen who even lets the officer now he's carrying a firearm in his vehicle just gets 4 shots at him from point blank range nobody says anything.

        Think about what this case is signalling: it doesn't matter if you do everything right. It doesn't matter if you're not hostile and have a license to carry a firearm. If the cop is twitchy and panics, whether it's because he's racist and scared of you simply due to your skin tone or because he's an incompetent asshole makes no difference, he can just shoot you dead on the spot and face no consequences. All it takes is for the cop to say that he felt as if he's in danger. As feelings are subjective it doesn't need to be justified in any way.

        Think about the stupidity of the argument in this specific case: they essentially convinced a jury that the officer in question hears the man saying he has a firearm and thought process in the immediate seconds following this statement is: "shit, this guy just informed me he has a legal firearm, the next thing he's probably going to do is pull it out and unload on me with his wife and kid in the car, that's how all the gangsters always operate. Best err on the side of caution and go directly to LETHAL FORCE'. You can clearly see in the video that the cop panics. He hears the word 'firearm' and goes from 'okay' to 'don't pull it out then' to four shots to the chest in like less than 5 seconds. The guy even mentions that the weapon is in his glove box. so there's no practical way for the him to get to his gun fast enough in order for him to present any actual danger to the officer. And the jury's like 'Oh that makes sense, he had reasonable cause'. What? This behavior would make more sense in a country like Japan where guns are banned almost entirely and the cops don't usually have to deal with armed citizenry. I was under the impression that american police training would deal with these kinds of cases a lot because you have the most guns per capita so these kind of encounters should be standard procedure for the cops.

        Can anybody argue after this that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed if carrying one legally gets you killed by the law for doing nothing except following the rules?

        • You leave out the place where the officer told him repeatedly not to touch the weapon but he kept reaching for it. But just keep dancing the racism card.

          If you carry, there is one rule to keep in mind if you encounter the police. Do exactly what they say. If they say don't touch it, get your damn hands away from it. Best to keep your hands up on the steering wheel in plain sight. If you need to grab anything explain verbally what you are going to do before doing it. If your hand has to go anywhere nea
          • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
            Now whatever you do guys, don't specify what or who you're talking about, or give any links or anything.
          • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

            You leave out the place where the officer told him repeatedly not to touch the weapon but he kept reaching for it.

            Except that's not even what the cops claimed was happening. [theguardian.com]. He said the gun is in his glove box. Was he reaching for the glove box? No.

            He was reaching for his ID which he was asked to produce. [washingtonpost.com]

            In the video recordings, Reynolds can be heard disputing this from inside the car, saying that Castile, who had been asked for his license when the stop began, was reaching for his ID, not for a gun.

            Yanez

            • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

              He said the gun is in his glove box. Was he reaching for the glove box? No.

              But, the gun was actually in his pocket, as many of the links about the trial details show: here's one random link [cbsnews.com].

            • by torkus ( 1133985 )

              Agreed and mind you I never claimed it did. This is gross incompetence and lack of proper training. These kinds of individuals should not be working as mall cops let alone as police officers.

              Well it appears that he isn't welcome back to his job at least. I agree completely that he was absolutely not trained/capable of handling what should be an infrequent, but not unique, situation.

              And even if we allow for a gross miscommunication between the cop and the victim, none of that should have gotten the cop off the reckless endangerment charges. He unloaded his gun point-blank into a car with a small child in the back seat. I may be mistaken, but I don't think cops are supposed to even RETURN fire

          • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

            Actually correcting myself because I rewatched the video just now. He doesn't say it's in the glovebox though that were it was. He uses a stupid phrasing of "I do have a firearm on me", and I think those 2 final words get him killed.

            So I'll grant you that Philip's actions/choice of words partially account for this chain of events. However, still I think the response from the cop is not justified takin in the context of the situation as I originally said: it makes no rational sense for a man to declare he ha

        • but the only way left wing policies (like fair treatment across race) get traction is through humor. Our media is owned by very rich, very right wing men who have a stake in keeping racism alive and well since it divides the working class.
        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          Can anybody argue after this that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed if carrying one legally gets you killed by the law for doing nothing except following the rules?

          Sure, and the NRA did not say anything about Andrew Scott being killed either.

          http://www.slate.com/blogs/the... [slate.com]

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )

      It'd be nice if the systems could improve to the point that they actually worked before being rolled out full-scale.

      It's primarily for show so I'm not surprised it doesn't work.

  • by chadenright ( 1344231 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @07:21PM (#54664891) Journal
    Since smiling at the camera distorts your features enough to fool facial recognition, if you smile at the camera, you might be a terrorist. And since you're a terrorist, you will be held without trial at Guantanamo Federal, indefinitely. Just like the other terrorists that DHS can't prove are a threat. This is, unfortunately, still ongoing.
    • I'm pretty sure nobody is at Guantanamo who wasn't captured actively engaged in armed conflict with the US. Nobody is being whisked off there by the DHS, or any domestic US law enforcement agency.

      I suppose if you're into Alex Jones level conspiracy theories, you could prove me wrong.

  • Yawn... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @07:37PM (#54664973)

    We've been doing this in Australia for a decade. It's called "SmartGate" [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: Yawn... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was one of the devs working on SmartGate. The way it really works is like this [slapthebaldy.com]

    • No we don't. Our SmartGates are only capable of checking if the passport holder matches via facial recognition to the passport being used. It is restricted for certain passport holders from certain countries and on certain flights because the system has no way of knowing if you're a valid visa holder.

      The system proposed here works on a Visa level and works on country exit, not entry. You won't encounter any electronic gates exiting the country at any Australian airport (or any other airport across the world

  • It makes sense. Why have a photo or any identification if you don't attempt to match it? It would be pointless.
  • The system works on exit, not enter. What is the point of spotting an illegal immigrant at exit time?
    • Because the US has no exit security, and this is a viable way of adding it into the mix; you can't change the airports to allow for physical exit security.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... for Americans anyway.

    Congress has passed Biometric Exit bills at least nine times [gao.gov]. In each, it has been clear: This is a program meant for foreign nationals. In fact, when President Trump issued an executive order in January on Biometric Exit, it was actually reissued [planetbiometrics.com] to clarify that it didn't apply to American citizens.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/fut... [slate.com]

  • You say that like it isn't already there.

  • Congressman Jason Chaffetz has been trying to warn the American people about some pretty disturbing stuff the government is doing with facial recognition. Basically if you have a drivers license, there is a 50/50 chance you are in the FBI's database. He also hints that any social media account you have with a picture is linked.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    • He also hints that any social media account you have with a picture is linked.

      That is why I poison that well every chance I get. When Facebook thinks it has found a face in a picture of mine I say it is me. Personally I like that for a long while it would find faces in mariposa lilies so I would always tag them as myself and get others to do the same. It also seems to do a good job of finding faces in pictures of random piles of leaves and bushes. Let us not forget this article [wired.com] from a couple of years back about a very confused computer vision system.

      • You may want to re-think how smart it is to train computers to see you everywhere in random noise. These kinds of systems are going to sprout like crazy, do you really want to get pulled aside in every security gate you pass through?
        • Every airport in the US I go to I already get pulled aside already and have for years as well as having all of my checked luggage opened and searched manually every time. I am probably on some list somewhere as if this were truly random I would have a better chance of winning the powerball and megamillions in the same week at this point even if the odds of a search were 50% [nypost.com] which they aren't. No I am not kidding there either with over 100 trips over the last 15 years with the bags being searched on the outb
  • The facial recognition software is sold by private vendors as being '90% accurate' but then put clauses in the contracts that make sure they can't be sued if it turns out its more like 40% accurate in practice. Then you have the problem of incomplete databases of images, often collated without the users consent, and then you have nontransparent process of determining weather someone is a 'match' and no kind of audit system to prevent abuses

    "Stuff they don't want you to know" is often a lighthearted podca
  • It's already being used at the TSA checkpoints. Last year I forgot to remove my knife (a k-bar, of all things) from my backpack. Funny thing is, TSA didn't catch a 12" knife when I was departing, but boy they were all over me on the returning flight. My backpack was pulled for inspection, they found the knife and then the TSA attendant went and spent about 2 minutes on a phone with someone. Then with no additional questions (didn't even ask my name) they let me go, while keeping the knife of course. I'm sur
  • 'Cause this is just one more step toward turning travellers into cattle. I won't be surprised if ear tags and/or embedded RFID chips are next.

    I miss the days when the States was a relatively safe and sane travel destination. The way things are now, I'll probably never cross the border again. Dammit, I miss New Orleans - it sucks to realize that I may never go there again.

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