Americans’ privacy rights are at risk with a new airport security system: Facial recognition.
It’s something out of George Orwell’s “1984.” According to The Verge, the new screening is called Biometric Exit.
The new security system takes a scan of every visa holder’s face in order to match it to an already existing passport. The system remembers the facial geometry to check for anyone who is trying to illegally enter or leave the United States.
While this might sound like a good idea in theory, there are terrifying implications and there’s no proof that it actually works.
In a commentary piece for The Daily Signal, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee explained the screenings will be mandatory for all international flyers — including Americans — and wrote that stunning statistics show these screenings are not nearly as effective as they could be.
“Homeland Security is hoping to use this technology accurately 96 percent of the time,” Lee explained.
“But even at that rate, 1 of 25 travelers would still be misidentified and improperly flagged by Homeland Security,” he continued.
The most concerning part, however, is the privacy concern.
Homeland Security is technically supposed to delete those screenings from its systems after 14 days, but yet there are no security systems in place that force the agency to keep that standard. That means personal information about the travelers that’s contained in the screenings could be available on government computer systems for an indefinite period of time — a period that information could be vulnerable to hacking.
As Lee wrote:
“But in our examination of the program, we have not seen satisfactory safeguards that protect this information from being accessed by third-party groups or that show these protocols are actually being followed.”
As a result, everyone’s privacy is put at risk.
It’s no secret that hackers have made headlines in recent years. The most famous hacks include Yahoo’s security breach.
What makes Homeland Security immune from hackers?
This facial recognition is an open invitation to third parties to break into that system and use those facial screenings for criminal activity.
Thankfully, many lawmakers are just as concerned as Sen. Lee.
Of course the government needs to protect the security of the country, but not at the risk of Americans’ right to privacy.
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