In recent months, a biometric entry-exit program led the Customs and Border Protection has got progressively underway using photo-matching technology to verify travellers across various ports of entry in the U.S.
However, according to reviews by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, more is needed to check and verify the credentials of biometric solution providers that supply to U.S. border protection agencies for streamlined effective border controls.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office commented that partners, contractors and vendors should expect to prove their trust credentials more frequently in the tender process, in exchange for passengers having to comply with the latest airport verification technology and regulations.
During a Homeland Security subcommittee hearing, Rebecca Gambler, Director of GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice Team, revealed the CBP had conducted 5 audit assessments on partners to ensure their technology was in line with security and privacy policies. Three more audits are in process.
Gambler noted that while facial recognition technology is being deployed to at least one gate across 32 common border points in the U.S, a past GAO report from 2020 presents a juxtaposition with measures to audit partners and determine trust. Only 1 out of 27 of its then-partners were audited against the CBP’s privacy and security frameworks despite biometric technology widely coming onto the market in 2017.
In exchange for trust from travellers, audits must be carried out on biometric suppliers to earn public trust.
In 2019, a data breach involving a CBP contractor exposed the data of 184,000 travellers from a pilot biometric entry-exit scheme.