As most of the United States is focused on the mayhem unfolding on the US/Mexico border in Del Rio, many people seemed to miss the announcement made by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in regards to the start of a facial biometrics pilot program at the Anzalduas International Bridge. Here at BPS Security, we actually often make use of artificial intelligence! In fact, we recently published an article about a new surveillance system that uses a new kind of artificial intelligence that alerts security/police forces when an individual is in a surveilled area with a pulled gun. And yet — even we think that the government making use of facial recognition on the US/Mexico Border border is going a bit too far! So, we are sharing a few of our concerns.
Note that: BPS Security was founded by Glen Bhimani, a veteran (formerly serving in the army) who grew up in Laredo (a border town located on the southern tip of Texas).
Our Concerns about the Government Using Facial Recognition on the US/Mexico Border
Concern # 1
According to the CBP, “CBP remains committed to protecting the privacy of all travelers. U.S. citizens who use the lanes with facial biometric technology will have their photo deleted within 12 hours of the entry inspection process.”
But… we are a bit skeptical. Can we really trust the government to delete the photos every 12 hours? Can we trust them with biometric facial technology at all?
Think about it, when the United States left Afghanistan, we left biometric equipment WITH DATA (that helped the US in the war) that is now being used by the Taliban to persecute its citizens.
To make it even more eerie, keep in mind that Hitler used a national registry of firearms to disarm Germany’s Jewish citizens. And this national registry was maintained by Germany’s political parties years prior to Hitler taking power.
Concern # 2
This technology will only make it easier for the US Government to track all travel in and out of the United States. Sure, we already require passports, but this goes further! It’s one thing to have a database of photographs, but it is an entirely different thing to have a database of facial recognition. If this technology is deployed throughout the United States… any privacy that we have left will go away.
For many people, this may not be that big of a deal! (Honestly, anyone with a smartphone is already being tracked!) But this is not necessarily appropriate for high profile individuals, CEO’s, and politicians. Especially if the system gets hacked!
Concern # 3
Is it even necessary to do this!? We basically already have the technology to do this while still giving some privacy.
For example, private citizens can easily access law-enforcement-grade databases that keeps track of every vehicle on the road. By simply logging into these databases and typing in a license plate number, anyone can quickly locate a vehicle!
And if this technology is available for private citizens, then the government should already have access to it, too! Thus, why do they need facial recognition?
Concern # 4
Every time we make a large technological advancement in security, criminals are quick to figure out ways to outsmart the technology! Think about it! It is already possible for criminals to fake fingerprints!
Do we want to push them further?