US citizens entering or leaving the country may refuse to pass the biometric control implemented at U.S. customs checkpoints, as part of the privacy protection measures collected by the Office of Customs and Border Protection.
The Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) explains in a statement that in the United States they are implementing the facial recognition system in the entry and exit systems of international flights – and other border posts by sea and land – and that they do it with the protection of the privacy of the travelers in mind.
Commission 9/11 determined that the implementation of biometric systems should be mandatory “as an essential investment” in national security. Currently, it is present in more than 20 checkpoints of airports, ports and land access to the United States.
With this system, which takes a photograph of the traveler to compare with an official identity record, CBP says they have arrested “more than 200 individuals who tried to enter the United States illegally using genuine travel documents from people they looked like” .
However, from CBP they point out that these systems must comply with requirements for the protection of the privacy of travelers, who must know their use of “biometric comparison technology”.
In this regard, they have introduced measures aimed at the protection of privacy, especially for US citizens, such as reducing the time that records of new photographs are stored, which go from 14 days to 12 hours.
Commercial requirements have also been established to ensure that airlines and other CBP partners do not retain traveler photos for their own business purposes. In addition, privacy notices will be provided by improving the signs and announcements at the boarding gates.
The measures also include the commitment to inform the public of “how the agency collects, uses and stores personal information” of the biometric control process.
On the other hand, US citizens entering or leaving the country have the possibility of refusing to pass this type of control – which they must notify in advance – and instead show the passport for visual inspection.