Friday, May 24, 2024

TSA Should Approach Facial Recognition Technology With Caution

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My two boys are grown now, 24 and 20, and
I always tell them to be careful. And invariably they always say to me that
they are grown men and can be trusted.

And I suppose it’s just a parent thing to
say, to be careful.

It’s not them that I don’t trust. It’s
everybody else.

There are some bad people out there with
nefarious intentions. No matter what the situation. Perhaps that is just one
reason why a group of bipartisan United States senators are calling for limits
to facial recognition technology
being employed by the Transportation
Security Administration at airports.

I don’t care if it’s an election year; it’s
the right thing to do. The senators are justifiably concerned about privacy
rights and civil liberties. The group of 14 is asking that the upcoming Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill
include some language about how the TSA
monitors the technology.

“This technology poses significant threats
to our privacy and civil liberties, and Congress should prohibit TSA’s
development and deployment of facial recognition tools until rigorous
congressional oversight occurs,” the senators wrote in a letter.

Listen, I have nothing against artificial
intelligence or the advancement of technology. But when you have scam artists
using the technology to mimic a voice and call grandma and ask her for $5,000
to be bailed out, that’s a problem.

Technology Advancements Are Important, But With Oversight

I’m also all for the advancement of
airport security. I think anyone who lived through 9/11 would support that.

But there has to be a happy medium.

Facial recognition technology is in use at
almost 100 airports, but that’s still well short of the 430 that the TSA is
responsible for. And, like air traffic controllers, there are only so many
agents who can be on the job at once.

Even then, there are cases of
indifference.

I remember quite vividly, almost two
decades ago, accompanying my father to the airport to pick up my brother on a
flight from Las Vegas. My father set off alarms at security and when he was
checked, he told them that he always carries his lucky bullet from Korea in his
pocket. Sorry, Dad, but that’s a no-no. They still let him go.

To this day, even with facial recognition,
there is still a human element to all of this. Even TSA administrator David Pekoske said last year that biometrics
would be required at airports someday. But for right now there is some concern
about how the data is collected and stored.

And the right to privacy will
always be an issue
.


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