UNITED STATES NEWS

Senators push to limit government’s use of facial recognition technology for airport screening

May 2, 2024, 7:00 PM

Facial Recognition...

The Transportation Security Administration's new facial recognition technology is seen at a Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport security checkpoint, April 26, 2023, in Glen Burnie, Md. A bipartisan group of senators wants restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology by the TSA, saying they're concerned about travelers' privacy and civil liberties.(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

(AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of senators is pushing for restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology by the Transportation Security Administration, saying they are concerned about travelers’ privacy and civil liberties.

In a letter on Thursday, the group of 14 lawmakers called on Senate leaders to use the upcoming reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration as a vehicle to limit TSA’s use of the technology so Congress can put in place some oversight.

“This technology poses significant threats to our privacy and civil liberties, and Congress should prohibit TSA’s development and deployment of facial recognition tools until rigorous congressional oversight occurs,” the senators wrote.

The effort, led by Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., John Kennedy, R-La., and Roger Marshall, R-Kan., “would halt facial recognition technology at security checkpoints, which has proven to improve security effectiveness, efficiency, and the passenger experience,” TSA said in a statement.

The technology is currently in use at 84 airports around the country and is planned to expand in the coming years to the roughly 430 covered by TSA.

The FAA reauthorization is one of the last must-pass bills of this Congress. The agency regulates airlines and aircraft manufacturers and manages the nation’s airspace.

TSA, which is part of the Homeland Security Department, has been rolling out the facial recognition technology at select airports in a pilot project. Travelers put their driver’s license into a slot that reads the card or they place their passport photo against a card reader. Then they look at a camera on a screen about the size of an iPad that captures their image and compares it to their ID. The technology is checking to make sure that travelers at the airport match the ID they present and that the identification is real. A TSA officer signs off on the screening.

The agency says the system improves accuracy of identity verification without slowing passenger speeds at checkpoints. The technology is not being used as a surveillance tool to compile a database or monitor people in and around the checkpoints, according to the TSA. It says the photos and IDs are deleted after the passenger goes through the checkpoint.

Passengers can opt out, although David Pekoske, the TSA administrator, said last year that eventually biometrics would be required because they are more effective and efficient. He gave no timeline.

Critics have raised questions about how the data is collected, who has access to it, and what happens if there is a hack. Privacy advocates are concerned about possible bias in the algorithms and say it is not clear enough to passengers that they do not have to submit to facial recognition.

“It is clear that we are at a critical juncture,” the senators wrote. “The scope of the government’s use of facial recognition on Americans will expand exponentially under TSA’s plans with little to no public discourse or congressional oversight.”

United States News

Boeing is now aiming for its first astronaut launch at the beginning of June. Officials for the com...

Associated Press

Boeing’s 1st astronaut flight now set for June after a review of small leak on new capsule

Boeing is now aiming for its first astronaut launch in early June, after spending weeks struggling with more problems on the space capsule.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Lawsuit filed in the death of dancer with a peanut allergy who died after eating mislabeled cookie

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — The estate of a young dancer who died after eating a mislabeled cookie containing peanuts has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the failure to properly label the package was grossly negligent. Órla Ruth Baxendale, 25, died Jan. 11 after eating a Florentine cookie sold by grocery retailer Stew Leonard’s and […]

5 hours ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Lara Trump touts RNC changes and a 2024 presidential victory for Trump in North Carolina

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — To a room full of Republicans from across North Carolina on Friday, former President Donald Trump railed against the Biden administration and vowed to win in the state for a third time — all over a speaker phone call after his son Eric Trump dialed him on stage. “I just want […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Nevada voter ID initiative can appear on 2024 ballot with enough signatures, state high court says

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — An initiative that would amend the Nevada Constitution to require that voters show photo identification at the polls can appear on the 2024 ballot as long as organizers collect enough signatures, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday. Organizers must gather just over 100,000 valid signatures by June 26 for it to […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Florida priest accused of biting woman who grabbed Holy Communion wafers during Mass

ST. CLOUD, Fla. (AP) — The Diocese of Orlando is defending a Catholic priest accused of biting a woman who tried to grab Holy Communion wafers during Mass at a central Florida church. The confrontation occurred Sunday afternoon at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Cloud. Police have forwarded a report to prosecutors accusing […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Senators push to limit government’s use of facial recognition technology for airport screening