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US Customs Consider Using Facial Recognition, Other Biometrics At US-Mexico Border

Cars line up at the San Ysidro border crossing in this undated photo.

Credit: CBP Photography

Above: Cars line up at the San Ysidro border crossing in this undated photo.

Customs and Border Protection is considering using biometric technology like facial recognition software on travelers leaving the United States by land.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is considering using biometric technology like facial recognition software on travelers leaving the United States by land.

Last week, the agency put out a request for information on how biometrics might help accurately identify people leaving the U.S. The agency expressed interest in facial recognition, iris scanning and fingerprint reading.

"Biometrics are the ultimate in identity," CBP executive director Colleen Manaher said. Biometrics are used already on some visitors coming into the U.S. Manaher believes recent advancements in biometrics could soon spot people overstaying their visas, for instance.

"Right now, the biometric solutions of iris-on-the-move and face recognition are high contenders," she said. "But right now we're only in the research phase."

The agency has not begun the process of contracting with biometric companies. And it's still too early to say exactly how this technology would be used at border crossings like San Ysidro or Otay Mesa.

Officials say biometrics would not be focused on U.S. citizens and would adhere to strict privacy standards.

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