Techno-Hell: TSA Rolls Out 'Voluntary' Face Scans at Over a Dozen American Airports

(AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Face scans as a standard feature of the “security” screening process for a passenger to board a flight are now in place in over a dozen of America’s busiest airports.


Land of the free, right?

Via Associated Press:

A passenger walks up to an airport security checkpoint, slips an ID card into a slot and looks into a camera atop a small screen. The screen flashes “Photo Complete” and the person walks through — all without having to hand over their identification to the TSA officer sitting behind the screen.

It’s all part of a pilot project by the Transportation Security Administration to assess the use of facial recognition technology at a number of airports across the country.

“What we are trying to do with this is aid the officers to actually determine that you are who you say who you are,” said Jason Lim, identity management capabilities manager, during a demonstration of the technology to reporters at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

“The technology is currently in 16 airports. In addition to Baltimore, it’s being used at Reagan National near Washington, D.C., airports in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Jose, and Gulfport-Biloxi and Jackson in Mississippi,” the AP summarizes.


The TSA explains its Orwellian new protocol, which it is marketing as a “Touchless Identity Solution“:

TSA is using facial identification to verify a passenger’s identity at its security checkpoints using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Traveler Verification Service (TVS), which creates a secure biometric template of a passenger’s live facial image taken at the checkpoint and matches it against a gallery of templates of pre-staged photos that the passenger previously provided to the government (e.g., U.S. Passport or Visa). This is an optional process for passengers, who may opt-out of the process at any time and instead choose the standard identity verification by a Transportation Security Officer (TSO).

This “voluntary” talking point is a common tactic when the government is grandfathering in any new controversial surveillance technology as part of an effort to tamp down any criticism until it becomes fully normalized.

As I previously reported at PJ Media about the Dallas Morning News reporting earlier this year on the future use of biometrics in airports, “[TSA chief] Pekoske said passengers can also choose to opt out of certain screening processes if they are uncomfortable, for now. Eventually, biometrics won’t be optional.”


The best thing any of us can do is to refuse the face scans as long as possible in an effort to clog up the TSA’s workflow and hopefully force change by creating a logistical logjam. While they’re in your personal space, whether they’re groping you or pressing the button to capture your face for their database, tell the agents how little you appreciate their bosses’ power grabs while they invade your privacy. Shame them. Quote the Fourth Amendment to them. Make their jobs as difficult and miserable as possible so that enough of them quit or complain that it might make a difference to upper management.


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