TLDR: U.S.Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a picture of you, you scan
your face, that image is sent to CBP which then verifies who you are. This is
… horrifying? Where is CBP getting these photos?
Just before entry or exit, each international traveler’s photo is taken, either
by CBP-owned cameras or equipment provided by the airlines, airport authority,
or cruise line. CBP’s biometric matching service, the Traveler Verification
Service (TVS), compares the new photo with DHS holdings, which include images
from photographs taken by CBP during the entry inspection, photographs from
U.S. passports, U.S. visas and other travel documents, as well as photographs
from previous DHS encounters. See the most recent TVS Privacy Impact Assessment
(PIA) for more information.
This is shocking and will not end well.
While U.S. Citizens who are entering or exiting the country are generally
required to be in possession of a valid U.S. passport, CBP does not require
U.S. Citizens or exempt aliens to have their pictures taken. Travelers who
do not wish to participate in this facial comparison process may notify a CBP
Officer or an airline, airport or cruise line representative in order to seek
an alternative means of verifying their identities and documents. CBP discards
all photos of U.S. Citizens within 12 hours of identity verification.
I’m willing to bet that within the next few years this will no longer be