The Department of Homeland Security has posted the latest update to a series of Privacy Impact Assessments attempting to whitewash the invasions of privacy and human rights inherent in a comprehensive system of automated facial identification of travelers.
The latest PIA reveals more than the DHS has previously admitted about the nature and scope of its planned use of automated facial ID technology.
The DHS plans to use image data aggregated from commercial surveillance systems operated by airlines and airports, as well as DHS cameras, including non-obvious cameras, to identify air travelers (including both domestic and international travelers), international ferry and cruise passengers, and travelers crossing US land borders in vehicles or on foot.
Automated identification of travelers based on facial images would be used as the basis for who is, and who is not, allowed to travel, based on travel histories and algorithmic “risk assessments” that form the US counterpart of, and predecessor to, China’s control of travel and other activities through facial recognition and “social credit” scoring.
The latest PIA makes a variety of claims about how the risks to privacy and human rights inherent in this scheme will purportedly be “mitigated”. Some of these “reassurances” are implausible, while others are already contradicted by the facts on the ground. And none of them would cure some of the ongoing violations of Federal law in current DHS practices.