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New facial recognition system nabs imposter at Dulles International Airport

Dulles is one of 14 airports nationwide using the technology

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Dulles International Airport found the man's real ID hidden in his shoe. He had allegedly tried to enter the United States using someone else's passport. (CBP)
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Officials said a 26-year-old man arriving at Dulles International Airport on Wednesday presented a French passport to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. Using the new facial comparison biometric system, the officer determined the man did not match the image on the passport. The man was then referred to secondary screening where CBP officials said he became “visibly nervous.” The man was searched, and officers found his identification card from the Republic of Congo hidden in his shoe.

CBP officials said they are not identifying the man until their investigation is complete. This is the first time CBP officials have caught a person using the new technology.

Georgetown University study raised concerns about airport facial recognition programs

Dulles is one of 14 airports using the technology, which was installed there only three days before the man was caught.

“Facial recognition technology is an important step forward for CBP in protecting the United States from all types of threats,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of the Baltimore Field Office. “The new facial recognition technology virtually eliminates the ability for someone to use a genuine document that was issued to someone else.”

CBP officials say the technology simplifies the arrival process for travelers enabling them to move through screening more quickly. Law enforcement officials say such systems can help them identify and capture criminals more quickly. Critics have raised concerns about the accuracy of such systems and whether they compromise individuals' privacy.