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U.S. Expands Facial Recognition To Customs Locations In Canada

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The U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the expansion of ‘Simplified Arrival’ for eight pre-clearance locations throughout Canada.

The ‘Simplified Arrival’ program is used by the CBP to automate the document checking process, currently done manually, which is required for admission to the U.S.

Entrance to USA

In addition to automating the process, the CBP notes that the process enables a ‘touchless’ experience, which is a pivotal benefit during the ongoing pandemic.

Speaking on the announcement, CBP Director of Preclearance Operations, Clint Lamm stated:

“In collaboration with our Canadian partners, CBP is excited to expand facial biometrics at Preclearance locations in Canada to provide a secure, touchless and streamlined travel experience into the United States while protecting the privacy of all travelers. Given the ongoing health concerns, the use of touchless biometric technology can also enhance traveler and officer safety and support the travel recovery efforts.”

Preclearance Locations in Canada

Deployment for the program has already commenced at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson airport (YYZ), with Vancouver International Airport (YUL) and Calgary International Airport (YYC) to join later this month.

Upcoming deployments for Edmonton International Airport (YEG), Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ), Ottawa/Macdonald–Cartier International Airport (YOW) and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG) will be announced by the CBP at a later date.

Speaking on the addition of the program at YYZ, President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Deborah Flint stated:

“CBP’s investment in the Simplified Arrival process is a prime example of technology that will allow travelers to complete the customs journey faster, more securely and with less contact.”

About the Program

CBP’s ‘Simplified Arrival’ program uses a biometric facial comparison process for instances in which travelers are required by law to verify their identity by presenting a travel document.

Accordingly, Travelers will be required to pause for a photo at a primary inspection point when arriving at a preclearance location for an international flight.

The biometric facial comparison process will compare the photo of the traveler to the CBP’s database, which consists of photos already provided by the traveler to the U.S government, such as passport and visa photos.

Additionally, foreign travelers will no longer be required to provide fingerprints, as the process will confirm their identity without it.

The program implements the use of the industry’s highest ranked facial comparison algorithms, supplemented by trained CBP officers to verify the authenticity of travel documents.

Travelers which are not required to provide biometrics and wish to opt out of the process, may do so by alerting a CBP officer at the primary inspection point, and continue with the traditional inspection process instead.

Similarly, in cases in which a traveler’s identity cannot be verified, the traditional inspection process will apply.

Woman at airport wearting mask with luggage

The CBP notes that it has taken considerable measures to safeguard the privacy of all travelers. New photos of U.S citizens will be deleted within 12 hours, while photos of most foreign nationals will be stored in a secure Department of Homeland Security system.

The CBP’s biometric facial comparison program has been used to process over 62 million travelers at air, land and sea ports of entry. Since 2018, the program has been successful in preventing over 400 impostors from entering the U.S illegally.

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