The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to add a new measure to the U.S.-Mexico border that is turning heads.
While President Donald Trump continues to promote the wall, the idea DHS wants to implement is going to cause as much if not more controversy. And it feels like something out of a science-fiction novel.
Defense One reported the following Thursday:
The Homeland Security Department wants technology that can passively scan the faces of foreign nationals crossing the U.S. border by car, ensuring that the individuals who enter the country are the same ones who leave it.
DHS’ Silicon Valley outpost is hosting an industry day Nov. 14 to solicit solutions that would let Customs and Border Protection scan people’s faces, even if they’re wearing sunglasses, hats or are looking away from the camera, without requiring them to slow down or exit the car.
DHS has been dinged on its biometric exit program before. Its overstay reports, which records who has overstayed their visa, are often incomplete, according to the Government Accountability Office, potentially causing “significant homeland security risks.”
It would be a first for security on the U.S.-Mexico border, and along with such technology comes a certain level of scrutiny.
Woodrow Hartzog, a law professor at Samford University, discussed biometrics in an interview with Wired magazine.
“There’s a question as to how viscerally people will respond to biometrics. The fingerprint reader seems to have caught on pretty well, because it was really useful and easy. When people feel creeped out they may be less gung-ho to adopt some kind of biometric," argued Hartzog.
April Glaser of Wired added:
And if you can get past the ick factor, then there’s also the privacy question. Are you willing to use your unique bodily identifiers to link you to a purchase history? Think about how often you purchase items you’d rather keep private: porn, alcohol, drugs, condoms, a hoverboard.
The program from DHS isn't official yet. But it is definitely raising some questions about how to enforce immigration laws at the border.