President Joe Biden’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) quietly unveiled a controversial facial recognition program at airports, which has been followed by major pushback that could affect people’s everyday lives.
16 of the nation’s largest airports including, Atlanta, Boston Denver, and Los Angeles, are now using face scanners to verify the identity of travelers rather than handing over their driver’s license or passport.
TSA plans to expand the program so that eventually all U.S. airports are using facial recognition, making it one of the largest efforts to collect advanced biometric data of law-abiding citizens in US history.
The controversy of the program, which is already being used in Communist-run countries such as China, has mounted from the political spectrum, arguing that facial recognition is a direct violation of Americans’ privacy and civil rights.
“Countries like China and Russia use facial recognition technology to track their citizens," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted. ”Do you trust Joe Biden’s TSA to use it as well?”
In response, Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) said, “nope.”
Fox News columnist, Justin Haskins, also pointedout that facial scans at airports may just be the beginning of a socialist regime. He noted that the Chinese government already uses facial recognition daily to “track and control its massive population, as part of its social credit system.”
“Biometric technology has the potential to enhance security effectiveness, improve operational efficiency, and yield a more streamlined passenger experience at the TSA checkpoint,” TSA spokesman Daniel D. Velez wrote in an email. “TSA recognizes that biometric solutions must be highly useful for all passengers and operators, considering the diversity of the traveling public.”
The TSA argues that face scanners can provide more efficiency and convenience to travelers at busy airports, however, it does not outweigh the threat the program could cost Americans’ liberty.
Although the TSA says that it will not keep data associated with traveler’s face scans, there is no guarantee that that promise will not change nor is there any federal law giving people peace of mind that their biometric data is not being stored.