Orlando International Airport is making waves in the airline industry by becoming the first in the country to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights.
Officials from the Florida airport told The Associated Press that scans will be conducted on all international travelers, including U.S. citizens. A formal announcement of the new security advancement was expected Thursday.
United States Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Jennifer Gabris told The AP that U.S. citizens at the airport will be able to opt out of the face scans. Even if they decline, some traveler will be asked to provide photographs upon entering or departing the country.
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The face-scan technology has been added to other airports in major cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and Washington, but it is only used for some departing international flights.
Once a passenger’s face is scanned, the image is compared to a Department of Homeland Security biometric database that verifies the identity of the person. Some privacy advocates are angry about the decision due to a lack of formal rules for handling the collected data.
Georgetown University Law Center associate Harrison Rudolph is concerned the expansion of the face-scan technology to every international traveler at the Orlando airport will result in errors that TSA agents aren’t prepared to handle.
Last month, two U.S. senators sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security requesting that the government agency institute a formal set of rules before the face-scanning systems are expanded.
“It will also ensure a full vetting of this potentially sweeping program that could impact every American leaving the country by airport,” Senators Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts and Mike Lee, R-Utah said in the letter.