In early March of this year, President Trump released a revised version of a previously released Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Section 8 of this Executive Order directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expedite the completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system. This new biometric enabled entry and exit vetting system poses a number of interesting challenges and opportunities for all stakeholders.
Department of Homeland Security and CBP Focus
Every day, approximately 100,000 flights take off around the globe with over 3.7 billion passengers projected to fly in 2017. The U.S. accounts for almost a quarter of that air travel currently. Our federal policy, infrastructure, manpower and technology are currently aligned to facilitate vetting individuals as they enter the country, but the same alignment is not in place to vet individuals exiting our borders. This allows foreign nationals to overstay visas and continue to live in the U.S. illegally. Addressing this exit challenge requires concerted efforts to align policy (domestic and international), invest in new border infrastructure, and leverage the best of biometric technology to ensure accurate, efficient identity vetting.
Border Entry and Exit Challenges
Luckily, the state-of-the-art in biometric vetting technology has evolved significantly since lawmakers initially envisioned the biometric entry/exit system in the wake of 9/11. Gone are the days of cost prohibitive and complex biometric technology. Fingerprints have long been considered one of the gold standard modalities of biometrics. These technologies require travelers to stop and submit fingerprints when crossing borders, thereby limiting throughput.
Face Recognition Provides Unique Benefits
The best solution for a modern biometric entry/exit system requires the stand-off, high-throughput, and extreme accuracy of facial recognition. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has expressed an interest in a future where crossing borders leverages the security, convenience, and speed of frictionless authentication through facial recognition. NEC sees a similar world where travelers and passengers move seamlessly through transportation spaces such as airports. Their data are collected without contact so moving individuals do not need to stop to present fingerprints or a secure tokens such as a passport, border card, or driver’s license.
Furthermore, facial recognition technology does not require a large footprint or major renovations to existing border infrastructure. Where there are infrastructure challenges at the borders and ports of entry, facial recognition can be installed with minimal disruption to travel patterns or the need for additional queues or checkpoints. Fast and effective, facial recognition also works at a distance which will minimize travel friction at high-traffic areas. Effective policy that synchronizes data from the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and various federal law enforcement agencies will create an iron-clad backbone for the U.S. government to know who is currently on U.S. soil.
The next 12 to 18 months will be an exciting time of rapid change for all stakeholders involved in protecting our borders. The deployment of an effective and efficient biometric entry/exit system will undoubtedly enhance the level of security and convenience for travelers crossing our borders. This system will also support the flow of commerce, free from security threats. These attributes will contribute to the safety, security, and wellbeing of our nation.
Contact us today if you like to learn more about how NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems can help your government agency.
Fill out the form, and we’ll have a solutions expert reach out to you.