Next time you exit Miami International Airport (MIA), you may be asked to show your face as your ID.

after experiencing it busiest year on recordThe busy airport – which serves millions of passengers annually – is planning to expand the use of controversial facial recognition technology to check passengers’ identities. The airport already has face-scanning software at some international gates, which will be installed at about 20 more departure gates by the end of September and all 128 gates by next summer.

“The use of this technology allows [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] To make existing travel requirements more efficient, which creates a more comfortable, safe and secure experience for passengers,” Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesman Greg Chin wrote in an email. new Times,

Facial recognition technology has made its way into dozens of airports in the United States and Puerto Rico in recent years, amid pressure from lawmakers to increase airport security after 9/11. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) It is planned to be used in more than 400 airports over the next few years.

In 2018, the technology was introduced to MIA by the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) for screening passengers arriving from international destinations. In May 2022, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners approved a $9.1 million contract for the county’s aviation department to install facial screening technology at MIA’s gates to scan departing international passengers. The airport is slated to start deploying the equipment around October 2022.

It works like this: Travelers present themselves in front of a kiosk with a camera that automatically matches their live image with the passport on file in the CBP data system. The encrypted process is believed to take seconds, eliminating the need for passengers to pull out their boarding passes or passports, and is separate from TSA security checks.

US citizens have the ability to opt out of this process and instead do a manual review of their travel documents. However, according to CBP, All non-US citizens are required Undergo the biometric identification process.

“CBP will ensure that all legal and confidentiality requirements are met,” the agency says.

Promoted as a way to speed up the air travel experience, facial recognition software is highly controversial with some Restrictions on cities like San Francisco Use of technology by police and other government agencies. Like other new technologies, it faces suspicions of potential misuse, data storage implications, and potential bias in the screening process.

In February, after the TSA expanded the technology to some of the nation’s largest airports, US senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Ed Markey and Jeffrey Merkle sent one. Letter Demanded the agency to stop the program.

The senators wrote in the letter outlining several concerns that not only could the collected data be exposed hands of private corporations or bad actors, but technology can also increase racial discrimination during screening. they note a 2019 study from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which found that Asian and African American men were more likely to be misidentified by facial recognition technology than white men.

He also warned that the TSA’s data was likely to be hacked, which Already happened Once before in 2019.

“Increasing biometric surveillance of Americans by the government represents a risk to civil liberties and privacy rights,” the letter reads.

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