Why TSA's Implementation of Facial Recognition Is More Dangerous Than You Think
As explained below, this is a mistake-not only because of the ongoing privacy and bias issues but because of the long term implications of using our face as our ID. That is why EPIC has previously urged Congress to suspend TSA's use of facial recognition technology and supports the call by several Senators earlier this year for TSA to halt the technology's use. The head of TSA, David Pekoske, stated at SXSW this year while talking about the use of facial recognition at airports that "Eventually we will get to the point we will require biometrics across the board." This statement by TSA Administrator Pekoske highlights one of the main risks of TSA using facial recognition in any capacity-there is no guarantee that how TSA initially uses facial recognition will not change or expand beyond the current stated purpose. Even if TSA begins with the less privacy-invasive and "Voluntary" 1:1 implementation, the agency could easily change the implementation and expand the use of facial recognition. The extent of TSA's facial recognition program, how TSA decides to use facial recognition, and what protections are or are not in place are largely up to TSA. Another risk that is set in motion by TSA's use of face verification is the very real possibility that our face eventually becomes our default ID and creates a de facto national ID controlled by the government. As it stands, the government are free to implement facial recognition technology pretty much however they would like, but the fact is facial recognition technology poses too great a threat to our democracy to allow its unfettered expansion. TSA's use of facial recognition normalizes the use of our face as our ID and the dangerous implications are far too great to ignore. The TSA should immediately halt its implementation of facial recognition.