Biometric facial comparison technology has been implemented at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) as part of the US Customs and Border Protection Agency’s (CBP) efforts to secure and streamline international travel.
“CBP is expanding the use of facial biometrics at Charlotte Douglas International Airport to provide travelers a safe, touchless international arrival process that further secures and modernises air travel,” said Barry Chastain, CBP Area Port Director Charlotte. “Our valuable partnership with CLT continues to enhance the travel experience. In addition, CBP looks forward to partnering with stakeholders at other international ports of entry across N.C. to implement Simplified Arrival.”
“We are excited to partner with US Customs and Border Protection to offer Simplified Arrival at CLT,” said Acting Aviation Director Haley Gentry. “As one of the busiest airports in the world, this innovative technology will provide our millions of passengers each year an enhanced customer experience upon their return to the US.”
The biometric facial comparison process occurs only at a time and place where travellers are already required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document. When a traveller arrives at CLT, they will pause for a photo at the primary inspection point. A CBP officer will review and query the travel document, which will retrieve the traveller’s passport or visa photo from government holdings and compare it to the new photo.
This process using facial biometrics only takes a few seconds and is reportedly more than 98% accurate. In addition, foreign travellers who have travelled to the United States previously may no longer need to provide fingerprints, as their identity will be confirmed through the touchless facial biometric process.
CBP has taken steps to safeguard the privacy of all travellers, employing technical security safeguards and has limited the amount of personally identifiable information used in the facial biometric process. New photos of US citizens will be deleted within 12 hours. Photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system.
To date, more than 72 million travellers have participated in the biometric facial comparison process at air, land and seaports of entry. Since September 2018, CBP has leveraged facial biometrics to prevent more than 650 imposters from illegally entering the United States by using genuine travel documents that were issued to other people.