International students and travelers may encounter a new technology while trying to leave the country in the next few months.
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) announced the installation of biometric facial recognition scanners as part of a 45-day pilot program in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). PHL is cycling through three different brands of scanners to see which works most efficiently at the airport.
The scanners are the final verification of a person’s identity before boarding a plane, ensuring the traveler has the proper documentation to have been in the United States to begin with. Scans are cross-compared with pictures from passports and visas already stored in federal databases. CBP says that images snapped on the tablets will be deleted from the devices within 12 hours.
“We are excited to welcome this new technology to the airport,” PHL Airport CEO Chellie Cameron said in a press release. “Working with our partners at CBP and our airlines will ensure our continued dedication to safety and security,” she said.
Select outbound international flights boarding at gates A15, A16 and A17 in PHL will be using the new tech. Passengers who request not use the scanners can have their documents and identity verified through other means by informing a CPB official or airline employee.