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.

According to reviews by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, more is needed to check and verify the credentials of solution providers that supply biometrics to U.S. border protection agencies in streamlining effective border systems.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office comments that partners, contractors and vendors should expect to prove their trust credentials in the tender process, as well as passengers having to comply with updated airport verification systems.

During a Homeland Security subcommittee hearing, Rebecca Gambler, Director of GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice team, revealed the CBP has conducted out 5 audit assessments of partners to ensure their technology can be approved 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 at 32 popular U.S. airports, matching live passenger images against a photographic database, a past GAO report from 2020 presents a juxtaposition with trust systems to audit partners. Only 1 of 27 of its then-partners were audited against the CBP’s privacy and security frameworks despite biometric technology 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.