Facial recognition could change the way Americans travel

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CHICAGO — It’s that time of year — from now through the end of April, more than 2 million passengers will be boarding planes for spring break, and one California-based TrueFace company is pushing its facial recognition technology that could change the way people travel.

Facial recognition technology using biometrics can reduce lines at the airport, speed up check in and increase security. However, the debate over pros and cons of turning over personal identification to government-hired companies continues.

Employees at TrueFace want to see the day where someone’s bag and flight are checked in with one quick paperless scan using biometrics — the measurements of someone’s face.

“You drop your bag off, it recognizes who you are, tags the bag and the bag is now on the plane,” Shaun Moore, the CEO of TrueFace, said.

If a bag is left alone for too long, that same scan will connect the unclaimed luggage with its owner. TrueFace calls this security risk “dwell time.”

“We can recognize if an object has been left in an area for longer than it should have been placed there,” Moore said.

The Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Washington’s Dulles International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International have already adopted the technology for international passengers on some level. Now, President Donald Trump is seeking to get the top 20 airports in the United States on board too.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls it dangerous and unproven technology. First information on millions of people every day is gathered by the government, then it’s stored.

“Do we really believe there will be some system created by the government and TSA that will keep that data safe?” Ed Yohnka, ACLU of Illinois, said.

While facial recognition companies are selling the upside of a speedier experience, the ACLU suggests it comes at a great cost.

A slowdown at the airport is one thing, but a security breach is quite another.

Some legislators are pushing back hoping to press pause on the president’s order to get more facial recognition technology in the nation’s airports.

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