Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is warning against the rise of facial recognition used by the TSA at American airports, comparing it to systems used by Russia and China to track their citizens, amid growing scrutiny of the Biden Administration’s expansion of the technology.
“Countries like China and Russia use facial recognition technology to track their citizens,” wrote Rep. Jordan on Twitter. “Do you trust Joe Biden’s TSA to use it as well?”
Countries like China and Russia use facial recognition technology to track their citizens.
Do you trust Joe Biden’s TSA to use it as well? https://t.co/taPBo3hfQe
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 7, 2023
The tweet from Jordan, the new chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, followed news that the TSA has significantly increased the level of facial recognition technology at airports, with 16 of the nation’s larges airports now using face scanning tech.
The expansion, which one opinion writer for Fox News described as “one of the largest efforts to collect advanced biometric data of law-abiding citizens in US history,” is the first step on the TSA’s plan to replace human verification with machine verification at airports.
Via Fox News:
TSA administrator David Pekoske says his agency has found that the facial recognition algorithm is more accurate than human TSA agents, and TSA claims that eventually facial recognition could be combined with government databases to eliminate the need for carrying an ID at the airport completely. But as convenient and effective the program could become, it poses substantial long-term threats to individual liberty that far outweigh its possible benefits.
The TSA says it will not keep the data associated with most travelers’ facial scans, although some will be retained to test the system’s effectiveness and for law enforcement. And the TSA further promises that under the current iteration of the program, it will allow travelers to opt out of the facial scans entirely. But there is no guarantee that these policies will remain permanently in place, and there are no federal laws that would prevent the TSA from storing biometric data in the future.
While most of the backlash has focused on privacy, Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler’s “number one” concern, aired in an interview with PBS, was the possibility that facial recognition software used by TSA might be racist.
“Federal government algorithms from 2019 found people with Black or Asian ancestry could be up to 100 times less accurately identified than white men,” said Fowler.
“That raises all kinds of questions in the context of air travel. Might these systems be letting through imposters? Another one is, could they lead people of minorities to get unfair treatment at the airport? Are people with darker skin going to be sent to special lines for extra inspection?”
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.