Some international travelers can leave their boarding passes and passports in their pockets when flying out of Dulles International Airport thanks to a new facial recognition boarding technology that went into operation Thursday.
The new veriScan system developed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority—with guidance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection—scans the faces of travelers approaching the gate. The system then compares the photo to a gallery that includes images of that person—either their passport photo for U.S. citizens or the photo taken of foreign nationals when they entered the country. The process eliminates the need for an airline employee to manually check every boarding pass and passport while boarding a plane.
The scan takes fractions of a second and has shown to be 99 percent accurate during testing, according to CBP Commissioner John McAleenan, who was joined by MWAA President Jack Potter and airline representatives for an unveiling event Thursday.
LINKNYC KIOSKS HAVE become a familiar eyesore to New Yorkers. Over 1,600 of these towering, nine-and-a-half-foot monoliths — their double-sided screens festooned with ads and fun facts — have been installed across the city since early 2016. Mayor Bill de Blasio has celebrated their ability to provide “the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world” as “a critical step toward a more equal, open, and connected city for every New Yorker, in every borough.” Anyone can use the kiosks’ Android tablets to search for directions and services; they are also equipped with charging stations, 911 buttons, and phones for free domestic calls.
But even as the kiosks have provided important services to connect New Yorkers, they may also represent a troubling expansion of the city’s surveillance network, potentially connecting every borough to a new level of invasive monitoring. Each kiosk has three cameras, 30 sensors, and heightened sight lines for viewing above crowds.
Since plans for LinkNYC were first unveiled, journalists, residents, and civil liberties experts have raised concerns that the internet kiosks might be storing sensitive data about its users and possibly tracking their movements. For the last two years, the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a small but vocal group of activists — including ReThink LinkNYC, a grassroots anti-surveillance group, and the anonymous Stop LinkNYC coalition — have highlighted the kiosk’s potential to track locations, collect personal information, and fuel mass surveillance.
Now an undergraduate researcher has discovered indications in LinkNYC code — accidentally made public on the internet — that LinkNYC may be actively planning to track users’ locations.