Port of Seattle plans for facial recognition screening at Sea-Tac

Sea-Tac airport. (Flickr Photo / SounderBruce)

The Port of Seattle voted Tuesday to take over a federally mandated facial recognition screening program for passengers departing on international flights from Seattle-Tacoma International airport. Port officials said that despite their reluctance to embrace the controversial technology, they chose to do so to prevent the federal government from running the program.

  • Customs and Border Protection has already started rolling out the biometric screening program but travelers can opt-out of it and choose manual screening instead.
  • Port officials in Seattle have been working to implement ethics standards and policies for biometric screening at Sea-Tac. The goal is to ensure any use of the technology is “voluntary, justified, private, equitable, and transparent.”
  • The Port said in a press release that without its own biometric screening program “CBP has authority to implement the program using its own staff and equipment at any international air departure gate … the Commission’s goal is to replace CBP and ensure that the program is run in full accordance with Port policies and standards.”

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