Soon you may only need your face to get on an airplane


What if you didn’t need a ticket and an Id to get on an airplane?  What if the airline used facial recognition to confirm you had a reservation and let you on the flight?

Officials at Dulles International Airport have rolled out new facial recognition technology that may eventually do exactly that.

Airport officials say the technology can cut boarding time in half while also improving security, but some have questions privacy and accuracy. 

Meanwhile, immigration officials are using similar facial recognition technology to verify the identities of people entering the country.

Kevin McAleenan is the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. He says the technology is user-friendly and cost-effective.

“No more fumbling with your boarding pass while you have two carry-ons, maybe a kid, no more trying to find your QR code,” he said.

The pilot programs are part of the effort to comply with a mandate from Congress to implement biometric screening at airports. Dulles International is one of several airports across the country testing the technology.

Some passengers are skeptical it will actually speed up their wait, and others have a different worry.

“I think in this world there’s too much invasion of privacy with technology,” international traveler Diane Russell said.

Some lawmakers have their own concerns about facial recognition technology — citing studies that show a high frequency of misidentification –, especially with minorities.

“All of our systems meet the highest standards of privacy and cyber protection,” McAleenan assured them.

Government and airport officials insist their programs are accurate across all demographics. They say the technology will change the face of international travel.

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