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US Customs and Border Protection meets with privacy groups to discuss biometrics

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Today’s meeting of US Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security with representatives from the privacy community was the first of numerous engagements planned with privacy groups. DHS Chief Privacy Officer Sam Kaplan and CBP Privacy Officer Debra Danisek were also in attendance to engage with privacy stakeholders.

US Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security met with these representatives to discuss CBP’s biometric exit program. Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC), Office of Field Operations, John Wagner reiterated CBP’s commitment to protecting traveler’s privacy as CBP moves forward with implementing a biometric exit system at US ports of entry.

“CBP has and will continue to engage our privacy office at every step in the process to add biometric to the departure process from the United States,” said DEAC Wagner. “We are fully committed to meeting existing privacy laws and regulations while ensuring and safeguarding the privacy of all travelers.”

Currently, CBP is demonstrating facial recognition exit technology at five US airports, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and McCarran International Airport. CBP is also collaborating with airline partners to integrate facial recognition technology as part of the boarding process at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport.

CBP has published two Privacy Impact Assessments to provide the public with notice of how CBP will collect, use and maintain personally identifiable information in relation to these technical demonstrations.

There are several legislative mandates that direct the Department of Homeland Security to record the arrival and departure of non-US citizens by collecting biometrics. CBP first established biometric screening procedures based on digital fingerprints for certain non-US citizens in 2004 to secure our borders and ensure that the foreign travelers presenting themselves for admission to the United States are who they claim to be.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.