ALEXANDRIA BAY — U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is expanding its facial recognition systems, and on Tuesday announced they have installed the technology at all pedestrian border crossings in Northern New York.
The technology, called Simplified Arrival, captures a photo where travelers typically present their passports, which is then compared against an existing passport or visa photo, called up from the travelers identification documents, using a facial comparison algorithm.
“I am excited to announce the deployment of biometric facial comparison technology to these additional border crossings,” said Buffalo Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy. “This new cutting-edge technology will help secure and streamline travel while providing a safe, touchless identification process for travelers.”
Simplified Arrival technology has been installed at the Alexandria Bay, Ogdensburg, Massena, Trout River, Fort Covington, Chateaugay and Churubusco ports of entry.
According to CBP, any photos taken of U.S. citizens will be deleted within 12 hours, and photos of most foreign nationals will be stored with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Foreign travelers who typically have to provide fingerprints when entering the country may no longer need to do so when utilizing this new system.
CBP officials say that U.S. travelers and foreign travelers who aren’t required to provide biometric identification can opt out of the process by notifying the CBP officer as they approach the inspection counter where the photos will be taken. Those travelers will then be processed following current, biometric-free procedure.
The technology is more than 98% accurate, and the entire process only takes a few seconds. To date, CBP officials say more than 70 million travelers have used Simplified Arrival at land, sea and airports of entry, and since September of 2018, the system has prevented over 600 people from entering the country illegally by posing as another person with stolen travel documents.