DHS WANTS FACIAL RECOGNITION BORDER SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM

Thursday, February 20, 2014
By Paul Martin

NextGov.com
Feb. 20, 2014

The Homeland Security Department is exploring technology that would use facial and iris recognition to track the departure of foreign visitors, according to contracting documents.

“At land border exit[s], currently there are no biometrics captured resulting in an inability to accurately verify that a departing traveler matches a specific entry record,” states a market research survey released on Wednesday. “To biometrically identify the broadest set of travelers as well as to discourage spoofing attempts, it is envisioned that the exit solution may utilize more than one biometrics modality.”

The system officials have in mind would be deployed at crossings for pedestrians and drivers.

DHS has struggled for years to keep tabs on travelers who overstay their visas, such as Amine El Khalifi, a Moroccan immigrant living in Virginia on an expired 1999 visa, when, in 2012, he attempted to bomb the U.S. Capitol Building.

More than a decade ago, DHS began trying out machinery to check the fingerprints and photos of visitors entering and exiting the United States. But the exit component of the system — the one that would spot invalid visas — still does not exist.

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