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Delta will soon use facial recognition for international flights at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport later this year. Biometric face scanning will be optional, meant as an option to save travelers time from checking in, as spotted by techcrunch.
Those who don’t want their faces scanned could always opt out, but the option is only given to US citizens. Visitors will need to be scanned as a security measure. The data will be collected and stored for two weeks, although exit records will last for over a decade for citizens and green card holders, and over seven decades for visitors.
The Delta expansion is only the latest in a wider rollout of facial recognition-powered security systems in US airports. In August, the technology helped authorities catch an imposter for the first time at an airport near Washington, DC. Currently, there are a total of 14 airports using the facial recognition technology to screen out people arriving in the US with false documents. DC’s Dulles Airport has been testing facial recognition systems since 2015, while New York’s JFK Airport started to test the technology in 2016. Both are part of the broader biometric exit pilot that uses facial recognition to identify visa holders as they exit the country.
Customs and Border Protection is still assessing whether travelers in the future could use biometrics to verify their identities instead of presenting boarding passes and ID documents, the agency said in a statement.