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Homeland Security’s New Mandatory Face Scans Are Possibly Illegal, Report Finds

If you’ve traveled through a major airport recently, you may have noticed the mandatory face scans at boarding gates for some international flights. They’re part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s $1 billion “Biometric Exit Program” designed to prevent identity fraud, but a recent study by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology says the program is on “shaky” legal ground.

Says the study, “no law directly authorizes DHS to collect the biometrics of Americans at the border,” and making those scans mandatory is such a huge expansion of the DHS’ authority that it should have been open to public comment before implementation as required by federal law.

The study also found the software inaccurate, especially when scanning passengers with dark skin. And women are misidentified more often than men.

“The face scan-based biometric exit program that DHS is beginning to deploy at international airports across the country is extremely resource-intensive,” the report concludes. “But despite its $1 billion price tag, the program is riddled with problems. It is unjustified. It is legally infirm. It may be technically flawed. And it may implicate serious privacy concerns.”


For more on this story, go to Gizmodo.

[Image: Shuttershock]

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