The US government processed more than 400,000 travelers at seven seaports during fiscal year 2021, using biometrics.
In that year, eight major cruise lines and one ferry operator engaged with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to develop facial biometric processing for closed-loop travel.
CBP uses a traveler’s face as the primary form of traveler identification to facilitate entry and exit from the United States, while enhancing security and protecting the privacy of all travelers.
Overall, this biometric technology transforms the way travelers interact with seaports, airports, airlines, cruise lines, CBP, and other government agencies with security functions like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), creating a process smooth ride that is reliable and safe.
CBP is committed to its privacy obligations and has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travelers.
To do this, CBP employs strong technical security measures and limits the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. US citizens can participate voluntarily.
Photos of US citizens and exempt non-citizens used for biometric matching purposes are stored in secure CBP systems until identity verification is complete, but no longer than 12 hours, and then deleted.
If a traveler cannot be matched by the face matching service, the individual must present their travel documents to a CBP officer or airline representative for manual inspection.
CBP advanced plans in fiscal year 2021 to implement an integrated biometric entry-exit process that provides significant benefits to travel industry partners, mitigates transmission of pathogens, and meets the Congressional mandate for a biometric entry-exit system. input and output.
Thus, CBP is leading efforts to streamline the travel process by providing industry stakeholders with a secure and automated platform to identify and match travelers to their identities.
TSA and CBP are currently developing the implementation schedule for expansion to additional sites.
In addition to the air environment, CBP is testing biometric capabilities at the land border in both pedestrian and vehicular environments and in partnership with the cruise line industry in the maritime environment.
During fiscal year 2021, nearly 15 million pedestrians were processed at 71 crossings.
In September 2021, CBP launched a simplified arrival vehicle pilot program in Anzalduas, Texas, to begin evaluating the use of facial biometrics to process travelers in passenger vehicles. The evaluation is in progress.