Unisys test outdoor facial and iris identity solution

Monday March 14, 2016
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing a biometric identity solution supplied by Unisys at the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country.

These travelers will submit their machine-readable or RFID-enabled travel documents as well as facial and iris biometrics as they are exiting the United States. The test, designed to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of using biometric technologies in an outdoor, pedestrian environment, began in February and will run until May 2016, according to a statement from Unisys.

“Unisys worked with CBP to develop a border security solution designed to identify visa overstays and persons of interest, as well as improve reporting and analysis of international visitors," said Amy Rall, group vice president for the Department of Homeland Security practice at Unisys Federal. “This solution can help us better track who is entering the country, why they are here, and how long they stay."

The new tests represent the second phase of the project at Otay Mesa, which began in December 2015. At that time, the kiosks were deployed to obtain facial photographs and iris images from selected non-U.S. citizens entering the country at the Otay Mesa pedestrian crossing. Not all non-U.S. citizen travelers participate in the test; for example, children are not included.

In addition to testing the effectiveness of biometrics at outdoor pedestrian border sites, CBP also will assess how accurately biometric technology performs when matching travelers' biometrics against those in the records created when the travelers entered the United States. CBP will evaluate the project to determine if some form of the technology can be effectively deployed at other land border sites as well as other environments.

To protect travelers' privacy, CBP stated that the images taken during the testing will be used solely for the purposes of this limited project.

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