Orlando airport first to add facial recognition technology - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Orlando airport first to add facial recognition technology

Orlando International Airport has become the first airport in the country to use facial recognition technology to process international travelers. (Source: WESH via CNN) Orlando International Airport has become the first airport in the country to use facial recognition technology to process international travelers. (Source: WESH via CNN)

ORLANDO, FL (WESH/CNN) – Travelers at Orlando International Airport will soon see some major changes at security checkpoints.

The airport unveiled a new program that uses facial recognition to verify passengers on international flights.

It held an event Thursday to commemorate becoming the first airport in the country to use facial recognition technology to process all arriving and departing international travelers.

"We're building a speedier experience for the travelers," said John Wagner with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

By the end of the year, the screening system will require every passenger boarding an international flight or arriving on one to stand for a photo that will be analyzed against on-file passport or visa photos.

Once the photo is matched, departing passengers board their flight without having to show further paperwork.

Arriving passengers will not have to submit fingerprints unless it's their first visit to the U.S.

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority spent $4 million for the program, and claims that testing so far shows boarding time improved by 15 minutes.

Passengers arriving Thursday said they liked the changes.

"It was great," said Garry Ferguson, who arrived from Scotland. "I think it is definitely the way forward. It's a much slicker system, much smoother getting through."

A privacy expert WESH 2 News spoke with expressed concern that the program has no formal rules yet for handling the data.

But federal officials said they're working on those rules. They also refuted that there are any privacy concerns.

"You know a picture is being taken – you're standing in front of the camera," Wagner said. "There's nothing subversive about this.

"And we're only comparing you against your passport photo. That's the photo you've already given the government for travel," Wagner said.

Officials are hoping the technology can eventually be used for domestic travelers as well.

Copyright 2018 WESH via CNN. All rights reserved.

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