Just when you thought air travel couldn’t get any more invasive, authoritarian and downright miserable, the Department of Homeland Security and two U.S. carriers are determined to prove you wrong.
Decades ago, Congress mandated that federal authorities keep track of foreign nationals as they enter and leave the United States. If the government could record when every visitor stepped on and off of U.S. soil, so the thinking went, it could easily see whether a foreign national had overstayed a visa.
But in June of last year, without congressional authorization, and without consulting the public, the Department of Homeland Security started scanning the faces of Americans leaving the country, too.
You may have heard about new JetBlue or Delta programs that let passengers board their flights by submitting to a face recognition scan. Few realize, however, that these systems are actually the first phase of DHS’s “Biometric Exit” program.