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Progress Made, but CBP Faces Challenges Implementing a Biometric Capability to Track Air Passengers Departures Nationwide

Executive Summary

In 2017, CBP made considerable progress developing and implementing a biometric capability to track air passenger exits using facial recognition technology. CBP’s Biometric Entry-Exit Program conducted a pilot at nine airports and demonstrated ability using this technology to match 98 percent of passengers’ identities at departure gates. However, During the pilot, CBP encountered various technical and operational challenges that limited biometric confirmation to only 85 percent of all passengers processed. These challenges included poor network availability, a lack of dedicated staff, and compressed boarding times due to flight delays. Further, due to missing or poor quality digital images, CBP could not consistently match individuals of certain age groups or nationalities.

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