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Here’s the letter from 14 senators slamming TSA facial recognition in airports

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) plan to expand facial recognition technology to 430 U.S. airports, and a bipartisan group of 14 senators who are challenging this move.

🙋 Q&A

[01] TSA's Facial Recognition Expansion

1. What are the concerns raised by the senators about the TSA's facial recognition plans?

  • The senators argue that facial recognition "poses significant threats to our privacy and civil liberties" and that Congress should prohibit the TSA's development and deployment of this technology until there is rigorous congressional oversight.
  • They suggest that the TSA's current error rate of 3% would lead to 68,000 mismatches each day if expanded to all U.S. airports, and that there is a "slippery slope" where the government could start scanning citizens' faces everywhere.

2. Why are the senators challenging the TSA's plans now?

  • The senators indicate that they want to address this issue in the 2020 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization, which has a May 10th deadline.

3. What are the potential benefits of facial recognition that the TSA has suggested?

  • The TSA's chief innovation officer has suggested that facial recognition could be used to automate TSA PreCheck, allowing travelers to bypass the regular security lines without having to sign up and pay for the fast lane.

[02] Personal Experience with TSA Facial Scanning

1. What was the author's experience with TSA facial scanning?

  • The author recently had their first TSA facial scan at the San Jose airport, where an agent admitted to them that the machines don't scan particularly well, which the author wondered might be due to the machines being pointed toward the airport's brightly lit windows.
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