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Senators Call for Restrictions on Facial Recognition Technology in Airports

In this post:

  • A group of bipartisan senators proposed that Congress should include in its upcoming FAA reauthorization bill that prohibits the use of facial recognition technology at all airports 
  • They have voiced their concerns regarding the extension of face recognition technology at airports, which may lead to violations of privacy.
  • TSA relies on facial recognition tech that is running at 84 airports now and plans to be implemented at more than 400 airports in the future

 

A group of bipartisan senators requested that the Senate use the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization due shortly to make sure that facial recognition technology could not be used at airports throughout the country.

In a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the senators acknowledged their worries regarding privacy and civil rights. Senator Jeff Merkley, John Kennedy, and Roger Marshall were the leaders, and they mentioned the hazards of face recognition technology deployed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on a wide scale.

According to the senators, “this technology poses significant threats to our privacy and civil liberties, and Congress should prohibit TSA’s development and deployment of facial recognition tools until rigorous congressional oversight occurs.”

The initiative, spearheaded by Senators Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, John Kennedy, R-La, and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., would block facial recognition technology at security checkpoints, which has been proven to be very effective, efficient, and acceptable to passengers.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Issues Come Under Scrutiny

They have voiced their concerns regarding the extension of face recognition technology at airports, which may lead to violations of privacy as well as civil liberties. They underscored congressional supervision and the need to approve the technology by the TSA before they proceed with deployment. 

The letter clearly documented the necessity of thorough assessment and regulations concerning facial recognition apparatuses provision and deployment by the TSA.

Oversight by Congress and the need for in-action

TSA relies on facial recognition tech that is running at 84 airports now and plans to be implemented at more than 400 airports in the future. Travelers at these airports have the choice to either put their passport photo in a reader and then into a machine, or they can just look into a camera after the reader has accepted their IDs. Consequently, the machine scans and compares the two shots in order to establish the identity of the traveler and a TSA officer commits the verification.

According to TSA, the system ensures that there are no human errors and that the passenger can pass through the checkpoint without waiting long. Travelers can still opt out even though last year, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said that biometrics will possibly be needed in the future as they are more reliable and less time-consuming.

The senators called upon Schumer and McConnell to take the upcoming FAA reauthorization bill as an opportunity to place restrictions on the facial recognition program that is currently being utilized by the TSA.

The senators highlighted in their letter the necessity for an immediate response to the danger that the rapid implementation of facial recognition surveillance poses. Transparency, public discourse, and congressional oversight were majorly stressed because they seemed to be the only options to address growing concerns around the adoption of facial recognition technology in airports and elsewhere.

Possible Consequences and the Future Approach

The agency advertises the device as a major security upgrade that facilitates travel but the senators are worried about possible applications of the technology in the future. The areas of concern regarding the abuse of this technology are not limited to passenger screening at airports’ border checkpoints. With time, facial recognition scans in government settings will become commonplace. That’s when the government will be able to scan citizens wherever they go, i.e. from entering into a public building to having them checked on public property like parks and educational institutions.

Senators encouraged the directors of Schumer and McConnell to use FAA reauthorization, which is a must-do bill this implant, to limit TSA’s development of this technology. There is a high probability that the TSA’s facial recognition plans would cover all Americans not only in airports but also with no public debate or congressional oversight.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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