New facial recognition tech arrives at Miami International Airport

Biometrics help speed up screening process, authorities say

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – There is new facial recognition technology at Miami International Airport that is helping authorities to verify the identities' of travelers.

There were cheers Monday at Concourse E, as airport officials revealed the new technology. It will also help expedite passport processing for international travelers. 

"Miami airport has been the first in many things for passport screening, starting with kiosks -- one of the first airports to do that. All the way to mobile passport screening -- one of the first airports to do that," Greg Chin, the communications' director at MIA. "All the way to the first airport in the U.S. to screen with facial recognition." 

Passengers approach, as they normally would, with their passports in hand, but are then asked to look into a small camera. Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner Todd Owen said the facial software camera compares the picture with the photo on file. 

"The tech identifies whether it’s the passenger, and when it is it allows us to admit them while the officer continues enforcement screening of that traveler," Owen said. 

So far, the software is only being used on passengers arriving from Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Germany. Since testing began in November, officials said they have been able to screen about 10 passengers per minute.They are applying it from six to 8 flights daily. 

"In the past often our processes were manual in nature. this tech will expedite the process of passengers coming through," Airport director Lester Sola said. 

Wendy McLeod, who was traveling to Miami from London, said the technology speeded up the process. Lawrence Wahl, who is also from London, agreed and said it was easy.


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