Orlando International this week said it will become the first U.S. airport to use facial recognition technology to process all of its arriving and departing passengers.
The program, which was created through a joint effort by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), was already being tested to screen incoming and outgoing international passengers at 13 airports around the U.S. including Miami, Atlanta, New York JFK, San Diego, Houston Washington Dulles, Las Vegas, Chicago O’Hare, and preclearance locations in Aruba, Abu Dhabi, and Ireland.
According to the CBP, the program will be fully operational in Orlando by the end of the year.
The program compares photograph of travelers with their on-file image in the Department of Homeland Security holdings, using small, easy to install cameras, in order to process travelers quickly and efficiently. According to the CBP, the process takes less than 2 seconds and is 99 percent accurate.
“We are committed to delivering a premiere travel experience to Orlando International Airport’s more than five million annual international passengers,” said GOAA CEO Phil Brown in a statement.
“By incorporating biometric technology into our entry and exit processes, safety, security and speed are optimized so customers can enjoy a more streamlined and comfortable journey through Florida’s busiest airport."
Nothing new is needed from travelers, the CBP said, as passport or visa photographs already on file are used to compare to the traveler’s face. The ultimate goal, the CBP said, is to create a travel experience that’s both secure and seamless for travelers.
While there have been concerns over privacy, raised by both travelers and by U.S. senators, the CBP said it is “committed to its privacy obligations,” and that it “has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers,” including publishing Privacy Impact Assessments.