TSA’s Facial Recognition Technology Under Fire

Some Republican lawmakers are criticizing Biden’s Transportation Security Administration’s face-scanning kiosks.

TSA has been quietly testing a facial recognition program for passenger screening at 16 major domestic airports. The plan is to expand the program across the United States so that all airports in the country use facial recognition. While national rollout is ongoing, there are civil rights ramifications to the technology.

Proponents of the technology claim that it will improve security and make the airport screening process more efficient. However, there are fears that everything could go wrong with the system as the technology poses a threat to civil liberties and privacy rights.

One of the biggest concerns is that the technology is not yet thoroughly tested and could lead to false identifications. Additionally, there are fears that it could be used to track and monitor individuals even beyond the airport.

This sounds like even more intrusion for Americans to tolerate. TSA is already notorious for its noncompliance with the Freedom of Information Act. It certainly does not help that Communist-run countries like China already use the controversial program.

TSA argues that face scanners can provide more efficiency and convenience to travelers at busy airports. The prospects of efficiency and convenience, however, do not outweigh the threat the program poses to Americans’ liberty.

Despite its assurances that it will respect travelers’ privacy and won’t keep data associated with their face scans, there is no guarantee that the department will continue to keep that promise. After all, it failed to fulfill its assurance of protecting privacy about 12 years ago when it introduced the “nudie scanners” it called the Whole Body Scanners.

The scans had ended up revealing intimate details of travelers — details as crucial as whether a male was circumcised or a female had breast implants — even though TSA initially promised that photos from the scans would not reveal intimate details. This is only one of the numerous unpredicted outcomes the scans came with.

There is also no federal law to assure travelers that their biometric data will never be stored if they are subject to the facial recognition program.

Some GOP lawmakers have voiced their concerns about the potential for abuse. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted, “Countries like China and Russia use facial recognition technology to track their citizens. Do you trust Joe Biden’s TSA to use it as well?”

Jordan’s statement reflects the concern that the use of this technology by the TSA could be a slippery slope toward the Biden government using it for questionable purposes. Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) succinctly responded to Rep. Jordan’s tweet with “nope.”

The program would put the Biden administration in front of efforts to collect advanced biometric data of law-abiding citizens in the U.S.