Evaluating Facial Identification Technology - Airport Proofs of Concept

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Overview

  • TSA is testing facial identification to verify a passenger’s identity at our security checkpoints using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Traveler Verification Service (TVS), which compares a live image taken at the checkpoint to a gallery of pre-staged photos that the passenger previously provided to the government (e.g., U.S. Passport or Visa).
  • Visit CBP’s biometrics website for more information about CBP’s TVS.
  • For more information, please see TSA Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs).

Proofs of Concept at Detroit (DTW) and Atlanta (ATL) Airports

  • TSA and CBP, in cooperation with Delta Air Lines, began proofs of concept for Trusted Travelers (e.g., TSA PreCheck® and CBP Global Entry members) at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) in March 2021 and at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in June 2022. These feasibility studies explore interoperability between TSA’s Secure Flight system and CBP’s TVS to verify a passenger’s identity at the TSA checkpoint. The technology compares the passenger’s live photo to a pre-staged gallery of existing passport or visa photos. TSA will continue to expand this concept to additional airports with the inclusion of additional airlines.
  • During the airline partner’s mobile app check-in process, the specified airline notifies eligible passengers of the opportunity to opt-in (provide consent) to participate in the proof of concept. For those passengers who opt-in, the airline provides a consent indicator on their mobile boarding pass. Passengers who choose not to opt-in will not receive a consent indicator and are not eligible to participate in this proof of concept at the checkpoint.
  • For this proof of concept, CBP pre-stages photos that the passenger previously provided to the government, compares them with their live photo captured at the checkpoint, and sends the match results to the TSA checkpoint. Consenting passengers can opt-out of having their photo taken at the checkpoint. However, their previously provided photo may still be staged in the gallery.

Data to be Collected

  • During the proof of concept, TSA collects a live photograph of the passenger, passport number, known traveler number, transactional metadata (e.g., transaction ID, timestamps, quality scores), and the match results.
  • TSA converts the information into an anonymized format, encrypts it, and transfers it for temporary analysis to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), which assesses the effectiveness of this biometric technology proof of concept. DHS deletes the data within 180 days.
  • For more information on the data collected during this proof of concept, please see DHS/TSA/PIA-046 Travel Document Checker Automation Using Facial Identification.

Privacy Act Notice

  • Should you choose to opt-in to the TSA facial identification proof of concept, TSA will collect your data as described above for the purposes of identity verification, enhancing transportation security, and testing the effectiveness of facial identification under the authority of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.
  • Providing this information is voluntary. However, if you do not choose to submit it, you will proceed through the standard screening process at the checkpoint. TSA may share information that you provide with CBP, DHS S&T, or others as necessary under the published System of Records Notice (SORN) - DHS/TSA-001 Transportation Security Enforcement Record System.
  • For more information on DHS/TSA Privacy policies or to view the PIA and SORN, please see the DHS Privacy website.