back to article FYI: Get ready for face scans on leaving the US because 1.2% of visitors overstayed their visas

Hey El Reg, help me out with this. I saw someone on Twitter complaining that she had to have her face scanned by US airline JetBlue before flying overseas from America. Why would they be doing this? According to food writer MacKenzie Fegan, she was asked to undergo a facial scan at a computer terminal at the departure gate …

  1. SNAFUology
    Meh

    cannot escape your face

    I don't travel o/s and am not likely to do so, so have few personal concerns until face scans becomes mandatory elsewhere but I have to laugh at the situation in the intelligence world and agent types the "I am James Bond" statements may become common place as trying to travel under an assumed name or false passport thru or in and out of any country will become much much harder - agents may become overt and very famous as they cannot disappear under a false identity.

    Face scanning in your own country might be ok, as the system can be conditioned to over look anomalies with certain faces but in a foreign country it would be much harder to orchestrate.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: cannot escape your face

      Face scanning in your own country might be ok,

      I'm here in the States and to me, this will never be "ok". If I wanted to live under the watchful and benevolent eye of Big Brother I would move to country that does that. I don't. I'm not one to do illegal things but why should I give my face, my data, etc. to those who want (allegedly) to "protect us"? Yes, we have bad people in this world, but honestly, how many evil doers have been stopped from performing their evil by any technology? It usually takes "boots on the ground" to do that.

      The time that passes, the worse it's getting. And as the article points out, it might be fine today but what about tomorrow or the day after that? Once the genii is out of the bottle, it will never be put back in. <rant off>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: cannot escape your face

        genie*

        1. Jim 48
          FAIL

          Re: cannot escape your face

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genii

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: cannot escape your face

            Then genii *are*

            Just sayin'

      2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

        Re: cannot escape your face

        "... why should I give my face, my data, etc. to those who want (allegedly) to 'protect us'?"

        Your driver's license, your passport... "They" already have a picture of your face. How many freedoms do you want to give up for privacy?

        I see privacy versus freedom on a scale much like political/economic/social liberal-conservative (three different metrics). Where "safe" lies is subjective. Some folks feel that having more privacy is safer than having the government(s) know more; some feel the opposite.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: cannot escape your face

          Spot on, it's in your swanky biometric passport, in a format shared by most countries that you're ever likely to travel to. It's how you are able to go through passport control using the e-gates and without a border guard scrutinising your passport and photo. I can only imagine this person travelled between countries using their passport, and also fed it into the machine that "scanned" her face.

          I'm surprised that a) this isn't obvious and b) those so concerned by "privacy" aren't already binning passports and drivers licences.

          Whether the system actually stores images (possibly - for visitors coming into the US, they certainly take a picture of you and your fingerprints at the border) or not, I can't guess, but it would be far simpler to merely assume that your passport left the country, your image matched the one on the passport, therefore you left the country.

          Either way, I know that on subsequent trips to the states, I only need provide a thumbprint now, presumably to verify against my existing scans.

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: cannot escape your face

          Where "safe" lies is subjective. Some folks feel that having more privacy is safer than having the government(s) know more; some feel the opposite.

          Absolutely. Ultimately, its safest for me if they know as little about me as possible, and as much about you as is knowable. Unfortunately it breaks down the same for all values of me/you, which is where the problem lies.

          I'm not clear that this is manifestly different from showing my passport at the gate - it has a photo in it too. I've not looked for CCTV at airports because I just assume it will be prevalent and unavoidable. I assume therefore that ICE/DHS et al will be storing images of me, including upon entry at passport control as well as a scan of my passport photo - as such, they already have the data.

          I'm far from clear that the UK don't already operate something similar too.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: cannot escape your face

        Another yank disgusted by all this. I guess when the majority of a nation are fat lazy selfish ignorant people this is a natural consequence. 1984 is scary no doubt but late capitalism actually thrives just as much on Brave New World distraction and indifference.

  2. Dabbb

    Hmm

    If I leave US of A on a plane airline uploads manifest with names after plane left, I don't go through border security on exit. What would be the interest for border security to have this information before I departed, other than ability to prevent me from leaving ?

    1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      And why scan your face? What do your facial features, as opposed to your name and passport details, have to do with anything in this context? Nowadays someone is supposed to check your identity before you board any plane, and you passport details are recorded. That's all the information the US authorities would need to check the visa status and blacklist offenders where warranted.

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: Hmm

        Uncle Sam embraces the reality of false passports and aims to render them useless?

        1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Hmm

          They can already scan your face and check for false passports when you enter the country, why would they need to do that when you leave it?

          Frankly I don't buy the justification of visa overstayers either. As TFM Reader posted, they have all the information they need from the passport and visa, they could identify anyone overstaying their visa *before* they depart and take any action they want while the individual is still on US soil, or even after (once they're gone, they're unlikely to be back the next day, so they have some time to put them on a blacklist). Anyway, a facial scan at the border gate gives no extra help in that case.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hmm

            I don't get it either. Even if I accept the dubious suggestion that many people exit with false ID to avoid being identified as those overstaying visas, it doesn't add up. Literally. If they entered on a visa, there is a record of that. Is it trivial to maintain a list of such current visitors? So why not require them to check out or presume a violation in the absence of such a recorded exit event? The violation is not about leaving late - it's about not leaving soon enough.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Hmm

              Who's being paid to manufacture, install, and maintain that face-scanning equipment?

              It's often just about the profiteering. DHS is a huge boondoggle, just like Defense.

          2. Nick Kew

            Re: Hmm

            They can already scan your face and check for false passports when you enter the country, why would they need to do that when you leave it?

            Because they want to match you against their list of terrorist suspects, regardless of whether you entered the country with a passport or with a midwife, and what may have changed in the meantime?

            The one with the false passport might just be the one who really does have something to hide.

          3. Olivier2553 Silver badge

            Re: Hmm

            They can already scan your face and check for false passports when you enter the country, why would they need to do that when you leave it?

            It's obvious: it is very easy to get forged documents while you are in the USA, s they want to reconciliate your face with the real passport you used at entry time.

            What I don't understand is why they do it at boarding: when flying to a different country, I always cross some immigration services, that would be their job to look for overstayers, not the airline job. Aitrine has no authority to do so.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      "What would be the interest for border security to have this information before I departed, other than ability to prevent me from leaving ?"

      Example #1: You are a wanted felon, on the lam after escaping prison.

      Example #2: You are the parent in a custody battle, skipping the country with a child in defiance of a court order

      Example #3: You are on probation and one of the conditions of release is to stay in the country.

      Example #4: You have been bailed for the crime of attempting to use a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon, having turned in your passport as surerty, but managed to obtain another ("borrowed from a cousin" who looks similar) and are attempting to slip out of the country before your next hearing (https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/02/unruly-escape-customs-mistake-sees-tourist-james-nolan-bolt-from-new-zealand.html)

      Making this _just_ about overstayers is missing the point by several dozen miles.

      1. Dabbb

        Re: Hmm

        How CBP deals with them now ?

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      What would be the interest for border security to have this information before I departed, other than ability to prevent me from leaving ?

      That's what I thought.

      Unless they want to be able to present you with a little fruit basket topped with a card saying 'thanks for finally leaving, sod off and have a nice day'

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        "That's what I thought."

        Unlike most other countries, US airports are _extremely_ porous with virtually zero segmentation between domestic and international travel sections (in a lot of cases the SAME GATES are used for both kinds of flights across the same day and there have been several recorded cases at JFK alone of arriving planeloads of international flight passengers walking straight into domestic arrivals thanks to airport staff fucking up)

        It's far too easy for someone to slip into the hallways and boarding queues without passing through CBP, or for passports to be passed to someone else. The ease and frequency of luggage theft from american airports should be the clue.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      "What would be the interest for border security to have this information before I departed, other than ability to prevent me from leaving?"

      I'm aware that there were some fairly trivial tricks for getting around US border security if you wished to work in the US without all the drama of valid paperwork. Not recommended for everyone, but if you were young and your heart and mind had been captured by America or an American. The methods relied on visual passport checks rather than a consistent system used across all US border points - I'm unsure if this is still the case.

      My guess is that people doing this would eventually get sick of the risk and return home by flying out of the US - this is to catch those people, make them criminals in the US and likely subject to punitive justice to ensure they never return to the US. Or likely to be allowed to travel at all.

      So those leaving the US in such circumstances will have to exit via the weaker points and fly home from a different country...

    5. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Hmm

      System test. You typically don't get scanned on leaving the US, its obviously just a pilot program.

      Once its perfected....that's another story.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USA?

    No way

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Blame Canada

    What happens if you enter by air but leave via road or boat, will the system think you've not left?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Blame Canada

      Have you ever tried to go from the US to Canada by road, as a non-US citizen? It ain't easy.

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: Blame Canada

        Can't you just walk across the border? As you can between many friendly European countries (yes, including non-EU Switzerland). Use the road and there'll be a border post where they might check you but will probably just wave you through. Avoid the road - as when hiking in the mountains - and there might be a low fence you can step over, or nothing at all.

        <Trump>Build that wall!</Trump>

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Blame Canada

          Can't you just walk across the border?

          With a US or Canadian passport, yes. The only person I know who tried it (in a car, travelling with an American friend) saw her friend waved through, but she had to spend an hour in Canadian immigration waiting to be interviewed, and then thoroughly questioned as to the reason for her trip. The fact that it all happened directly under a large photograph of the Queen was even more irritating!

          1. Dr_N Silver badge

            Re: Blame Canada

            >The only person I know who tried it (in a car, travelling with an American friend) saw her friend waved through, but she had to spend an hour in Canadian immigration waiting to be interviewed

            I've done it a number of times. Yes you have to get out of the car and present you passport in the border post sometimes instead of being stamped/waved through. (Can happen on the US or Canadian side.)

            Your friend must be on a watch list.

            1. mad_dr

              Re: Blame Canada

              I do it every few weeks on average. Brit living in Vancouver BC, travelling to the states via road, rail and air.

              If you have a Canadian or US passport there is no need for a visa or visa-waiver. You must present yourself at the border when you enter your destination country but you're not specifically 'checked out' of the country you departed from. This has always struck me as slightly odd.

              If you're a non-Canadian or a non-US citizen then you will either need a full-on visa or a visa-waiver (in my case). The visa-waivers cost about $6USD and expire after 3 months. During that 3 month period you can come and go as often as you like for purposes of tourism (not work/study) without needing to renew the visa-waiver.

              BUT... It's MY responsibility to insist to the DHS guy in the US booth that I need to park my car, come into the office and pay for the visa-waiver (plus give my fingerprints AGAIN and have my photo taken AGAIN.) They often won't look for an existing visa-waiver stapled into my passport and, the first time I crossed, they just asked me where I lived, to which I responded "Vancouver". The DHS guard made an assumption and waved me through with my Canadian wife. Then several months later I got a bollocking from a different DHS guard who said that it was not their responsibility to ensure that I had the requisite paperwork/permission to enter the country and that I should have surrendered myself to apply for the visa-waiver and that they were considering rendering me inadmissible to the US for the next few thousand years.

              To complicate things, I now have a Nexus card (trusted traveller program) which means that I can be pre-cleared for most security crossings into the US as long as I travel with my UK passport and Nexus card. However, I am STILL required to have a visa-waiver and therefore now have an even tougher time convincing the border officer that I need to come into the office for processing. (For those who might not know, a Nexus card can cut down a border wait from over 2 hours to less than 10 minutes during peak periods).

              However, to complicate things further, if I arrive into the US by air, then I need to pre-buy a 2-year ESTA that is electronically attached to my passport that allows me to land in the US when I arrive by means other than land/sea.

              They MIGHT be able to make it more complicated and convoluted and prone to error, but they'd need to work hard at it.

              Friends here in Vancouver - especially those who live in the towns and villages which press up against the border - fondly remember when they were kids on bikes in the summertime, being allowed to cycle across the border with ZERO ID whatsoever and only stopping to show the DHS and CBSA guards the fish they'd caught while they were down there playing for the day.

              Google "Point Roberts" for an example of a piece of US soil that is not actually attached to the contiguous USA but can only be reached via Canada. Kind of like if Cornwall was part of France. There's a small border crossing there that we use when we want to buy cheap gas or pick up a parcel that couldn't be shipped to Canada.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blame Canada

          "(yes, including non-EU Switzerland)."

          Switzerland is in the Schengen agreement - the big wall is (meant to be) on the entry points into Schengen area - so when flying from UK to Portugal (as I did a couple of weeks ago) there's a passport check/scan at the airport on arrival and departure,

          However, recently I've travelled a few times to the US from the UK via Dublin - get full US immigration at Dublin on way out so arrive in US as an "internal" flight. But on way back there's a passport check at Dublin but its basically just wave passport in front of official and he's happy since you're just going into the international terminal for transit, then get on a plane back to the UK and on landing as its a flight within the UK/Irish travel region there's no check whatsoever in the UK.

          1. Nick Kew

            Re: Blame Canada

            Damn, I'm getting old.

            Last time I crossed the Swiss border over a mountain pass with no hint of a border post, there was no Schengen agreement. It never occurred to me as relevant.

            [edit] Looking up the Schengen agreement, it's much older than I realised (1985!), and the above isn't quite true. Still, the point stands: there is no border post on Monte Rosa.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Blame Canada

              Looking up the Schengen agreement, it's much older than I realised (1985!), and the above isn't quite true.

              Switzerland didn't join until 2004, during the 90s it was common to be asked for a passport when crossing from France to Switzerland at the main Bardonnex frontier near Geneva. Never seemed to happen in the reverse direction (but I was in a French-registered car, top tip for wannabe smugglers).

              Still, the point stands: there is no border post on Monte Rosa.

              Amazing, a hard border between an EU country and a non-EU one, with no border post. I thought that was supposed to be impossible, according to Barnier & co.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Blame Canada

                "Amazing, a hard border between an EU country and a non-EU one, with no border post. I thought that was supposed to be impossible, according to Barnier & co."

                Its not the "hard border" as such that Barnier&Co were against but the prospect that having such a hard border might cause a resurgence of paramilitary activity from PIRA etc. This week's events in (London)Derry seem to have shown that they've managed to generate the result they waned. As I've commented before it seems to be depressing that the anti-Brexit argument basically amounts to giving PIRA a veto over any democractic decision - seems that in the choice between the Armalite and the Ballot Box that the EU has come down on the side of the Armalite ... let's hope UKIP don't decide to sert up a paramilitary wing.

                1. Nick Kew

                  Re: Blame Canada

                  The "hard border" may be a reference to it being a bit of a trek. If the link works, here's one I crossed some years ago. There does seem to be something that could be a border fence, but if it existed when I crossed, it was entirely under the snow (the statue was clearly visible, and indeed marked on my map, but I never saw she was mounted on a brick construction).

                2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                  Re: Blame Canada

                  it seems to be depressing that the anti-Brexit argument basically amounts to giving PIRA a veto over any democractic decision

                  Yes, not doing something just in case it might result in violence from paramilitaries is a classic example of "giving in to terrorists", which people in NI have spent 30+ years refusing to do. Varadkar should be ashamed of himself for those comments.

                  let's hope UKIP don't decide to sert up a paramilitary wing.

                  Unlikely, one advantage of the single-issue parties like UKIP is that the UK has had an anti-EU option that doesn't involve far right/left violent extremism. It's been spared the move to the extremes that other EU countries are suffering. I wouldn't be so sanguine about the likes of BNP or Britain First, though.

              2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

                Re: hard border without posts

                It's not a hard border, since Switzerland is part of the EFTA, hence of the Schengen area. Barnier explained that very clearly a while ago:

                https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/michel-barnier-killer-graphic-brexit-theresa-mays-red-lines-on-bespoke-model_uk_5a39497ce4b0fc99878f2058?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: hard border without posts

                  Switzerland wasn't a member of Schengen until 2004, the lack of a border post long predated that. Barnier is just engaging in the usual sophistry.

                  1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

                    Re: hard border without posts

                    And Switzerland had trade agreements with the EEC/EU long before Schengen too. Put it however you want, unless you have you accept a set of common rules with your neighbours, you are going to need border checks. Barnier hasn't made anything up.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: hard border without posts

                      Of course you'll need border checks, but with modern technology those don't need to be physical border posts, nor a gate, nor military. Suggesting otherwise is just unnecessary scaremongering.

                      1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

                        Re: hard border without posts

                        If you are referring to "max-fac", those not busy chasing pink unicorns have long realized that:

                        - The technology can't be implemented before several years, well after the end of the transition period

                        - It can minimize physical border checks but can't 100% replace them

                        - To be efficient and reduce risks of fraud, these checks will have to take place at the border. So the border will be physically materialized one way or another

                        - HRMC has estimated the costs to businesses to about £20 billion per year. That's more than £350 million per week, if that figure rings any bells

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Blame Canada

          Can't you just walk across the border?

          I admit I've wondered that myself, having lived in a number of places (in the US) close to the border.

          I read an article in the New Yorker a couple of years back where the author had interviewed refugees trying to cross from the US to Canada, and apparently the back-country route they were using in New York state was not trivial - swampy, difficult ground, plus there's the little matter of a water barrier. If memory serves, this was near Buffalo, so they would have been trying to cross the Niagara River.

          West of the Great Lakes, though, there's a whole lotta rural border. It sure looks like it'd be easy to slip back and forth.

          1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Blame Canada

            I read an article in the New Yorker a couple of years back where the author had interviewed refugees trying to cross from the US to Canada, and apparently the back-country route they were using in New York state was not trivial - swampy, difficult ground, plus there's the little matter of a water barrier.

            Try some of the backwoods farm "roads" in Vermont. I lived in a border town there, and there was a dirt track (essentially two ruts in the ground) along some farm fields I was exploring one day. Happened upon a "border crossing" there that consisted of a small (unoccupied) guard shack and a gate across the "road". Posted on the gate was a sign saying "if you are crossing the border here, please check in at the Border Crossing Station at Highwater". Granted, it was the late 70's, so who knows what it has now.

          2. John R. Macdonald

            Re: Blame Canada

            Last year a French woman visiting her mother in Canada inadvertently entered the US while jogging on a beach and spent 2 weeks in a US immigration jail.

      2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: Blame Canada

        Things may have changed in the last 15 years, but I don't recall any particular difficulties crossing the US-Canada border at Buffalo (Niagara Falls) by car on a tourist visa.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blame Canada

          on a tourist visa.

          With a visa it might be easier, relying on visa-waiver or ESTA/ETA things get more complex. In general neither the US nor Canada like visitors who don't have proof of a departure date (like a return flight ticket). The very flexibility that car travel offers tends to count against that.

          It's certainly possible, but not usually as quick or painless as crossing a European border, EU or otherwise.

          1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

            Re: Blame Canada

            Actually I used 'tourist visa' in a broad sense, I travelled there under a visa waiver program with an ESTA or whatever was in place at the time, with a 90-day time limit. Just had to hand our passports and stay in the car, no questions asked.

        2. ChrisC

          Re: Blame Canada

          We did something similar 3 years ago - flew into Toronto, picked up a hire car and drove straight down to Buffalo for the weekend, then back to Toronto for the flight home. The entry into the US took a bit of time - had to park up at the border station and go inside for fingerprint scans and entry card paperwork/payment, but all done by possibly the friendliest border guard in the entire USA which made a huge difference to how we perceived the procedure - whereas the crossing back into Canada was done without any need to get out the car.

      3. Steve Foster

        Re: Blame Canada

        Yes, some friends and I once did a day trip to Vancouver from the US, in the midst of a short stay (couple of weeks) visit to the US. We hired a nice car in Seattle (with UK driving licences) for the trip, and had a lovely time. The border crossing from US to Canada and back again was no trouble at all.

        Mind you, this was nearly 20 years ago now (though it was a year or two after 9/11), and it might be that our experience could not be repeated today (and I would not choose to travel to the US now anyway).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blame Canada

      : What happens if you enter by air but leave via road or boat, will the system think you've not left?

      Canada Border Services Agency automatically shares the details of all travellers entering Canada from the US with the US authorities. US CBP does the same for any and all travellers entering from Canada. That's how both countries go around the fiction of "not recording" exiting travellers.

      https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/08/31/ottawa-sharing-info-with-us-homeland-security-on-americans-entering-canada.html

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Blame Canada

      If you _really_ want to feel the full force of the border agencies, try leaving using a different nationality passport to the one you entered with....

      1. Solviva

        Re: Blame Canada

        I tried that in FYROM or is it Northern Macedonia now... the border dude when exiting in Skopje just looked a little confused after scanning my passport and I guess getting no info back from it then just asked if I had another passport and I handed him that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blame Canada

        "If you _really_ want to feel the full force of the border agencies, try leaving using a different nationality passport to the one you entered with...."

        My son (born in California while I was workinh there but has returned to UK at age of 4 motnths) went on a school ski trop to the US a few years ago .... teachers running the trip were rather taken aback when we explained that he would need to use his US passport when entering the USA but then use his UK passport for the return journey!

  5. VBF

    Sort of related......

    In Thailand, when you enter, leave, or visit Immigration to extend a Visa, your photograph is taken and PRESUMABLY stored somewhere for future use.

    They have been doing this for about 10 years so nothing new.....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Delta also

    Flew out from Miami over xmas and Delta had the same, was very impressed with how quickly it recognised me. Didnt need a ticket or anything when boarding, just walk up and scans your face. Guess to catch those with fake ID aka terrorists, fraudsters.

    1. Another User

      Don’t exaggerate the system’s capabilities

      Recognizing you when yo try do board is not exactly rocket science. You already have a ticket and your biometrics are connected to this ticket. The automatic boarding system only has to match your image against the 200-400 expected passengers. This will have a very low rate of false positives.

      It does not help against fake IDs at all. Why? It is a new ID to the system. It will connect your newly recorded image with this fake ID and make sure that only this fraudster/terrorist can travel with this ‘ID’.

      Other agencies will search for duplicates. This should find people under witness protection who have been given a new identity, spies from foreign countries, and lots of people who just look like somebody else. With a population of almost 8 billion not everyone can have his unique face...

  7. Chris G Silver badge

    Having seen the Naturalisation and Immigration boys at work, I suspect they want to grab overstayers, put them in orange overalls with cuffs and manacles and send them off to the US's increasingly industrial private prisons.

    Think of it as a recruitment drive, who's going to miss a few students from Chad?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You might be kidding but

      It's as good an explanation - or better - than several others here.

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Easy options

    1) Confusion

    a) travel to USA on 6 month visa, clean-shaven

    b) spend 6 months growing beard, dying and shaping eyebrows, and having Vulcan ear-surgery

    c) fly home

    OR

    2) Simples

    a) cross USA off your travel destination list (if you haven't already)

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Easy options

      If this is proper biometrics scanning, growing a beard or changing your eyebrows should not make a difference. Ear shape MIGHT make a difference but most full frontal "face-on" recognition systems don't do anything with the ears afaik.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Easy options

        But a nose job will mess with the system.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Easy options

        Ear shape MIGHT make a difference but most full frontal "face-on" recognition systems don't do anything with the ears afaik

        If e's going for Vulcan, the eyebrows will also need some work.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Easy options

          botox, contact lens with shape change, punch to the nose would screw it up.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternatively

    Hack into the Homeland Security server and put yourself on the banned list. Then they won't be able to extradite you :)

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively

      i imagine you wouldn't be sitting down for a while after the internal reaming. They would probably ship you somewhere no so nice whilat they figure out how you got in.

  10. batfink Silver badge
    Holmes

    Relying on facial recognition

    What could possibly go wrong?

  11. Jim84

    Stop and search

    Presumably once the database and facial recognition are running a bit more smoothly this will be rolled out as an app for police who can quickly check on “random” stop and searchs if someone is a visa overstayer.

    Or in an even more Orwellian move they could plug the system into some random CCTV traffic cameras within the US to fish these people out of the crowd.

    Up until now AI has not been able to identify people within cars, but this is being worked on:

    https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/6/5/17427150/facial-recognition-vehicle-face-system-homeland-security-immigration-customs

  12. Christopher Aussant

    Alternative?

    Many a cry against, but no better solution offered. I too don't want to be beaten with yet another government stick that I'm powerless against. But then I also don't want people running roughshod over the rules. You have a visa, you get 6 months, you leave and then come back. Annoying but if its the deal you agreed to before you came in, honor it. People aren't allowed to stay in a country that's not theirs anymore than they can stay in your house without your permission. What other options do we have?

    Tracking everyone and sending enforcers to the site to remove people who don't leave in time is Orwellian indeed but the honor system seems to be failing. The Chinese social credit system is too far for me to like at all, but laissez-faire isn't really acceptable either. You'll always have people over concerned about privacy(theirs and others) and those not concerned enough but this doesn't actually do anything to help the problem.

    Does anyone have an alternative to suggest for having people follow the rules?

    1. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: Alternative?

      > but the honor system seems to be failing.

      I think you'll find 1.2% leakage of any system involving humans is pretty good actually.

      I'm not sure that the millions of dollars and the impositions imposed on others is a really a very good tradeoff to try to make an inroad into that fairly small portion.

  13. SirDigalot

    Back in the day..

    Pre 2001 ( when i moved here) i was in and out all the time (every couple of weeks) on a visa waiver courting my (now) wife, the only time i got any greif is when the airline forgot to remove the green waiver card thingy from my passport on exit, so when i came back a couple of weeks later, the border guard asked me a few more questions, and told me to make sure they remove it next time.

    Roll forward to the week of september 2001 i entered and never went home, got married, did the usual, even during my greencard interview ( i had lost my passport back then and had a fresh unstamped new one) the INS officer was not too concerned he rolled his eyes when i told him i remembered my old passport number by heart, and, trying to test me later he asked for it when he was pulling up my entry information on his terminal, after it checked out and he saw the multitudde of visits, he concluded we did not get married for convenience, and stamped my passport, nearly 20 years later here i am a legit septic-citizen still married to the old ball and chain, talk about life without parole.

    Things were much easier in the day, but then, I am the correct skin tone, speak a variant of the correct language and have held down good paying white collar jobs since being allowed to work ( and even paid taxes when i was not allowed to work) generally what most visa over stayers actually do, at least all the ones i knew, there were quite a few because of the large irish contingent in Chicago at the time.

    Guess its like the Aussies and Kiwis in the UK, could walk into a pub without the bar staff talking in weird accents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back in the day..

      "Guess its like the Aussies and Kiwis in the UK"

      a few years ago had a work trip to France including in group a colleague with Indian passport who needed a Schengen visa. On return to Heathrow we (UK passport holders) queued up for passport check and after getting through waited for what we assumed would be some time before our colleague got throught he "other passports" clearance. After about 10 minutes he phoned us from the car hire bus stop asking where we were - turned out that passport clearance in the UK/EU queue was considerably longer than the "other passports" queue as they'd checked and scanned all our pasports while he'd only shown the visa page which shown he'd been allowed in before and had been waved straight through!

    2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Re: Back in the day..

      i got any greif is when the airline forgot to remove the green waiver card thingy from my passport on exit

      It is not the job of airline staff to deal with the visa and waiver and stickers and etc. That the job of immigration officers.

  14. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    Do they know I left?

    First time I visited the USA, there was no official to hand my departure card to as I transferred from a domestic to int'l flight to leave. Eventually, airline staff said they'd pass it on. If they didn't, will this facial recognition get me arrested for overstaying 20-odd years?

  15. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    If you are one of those concerned about the privacy implications of this program

    This will make you feel better.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_CE7GqqrvY

    (This message brought to you by your Uncle Sam.)

  16. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    What if you have allergies?

    Face all puffed-up, swollen eyes, and bloated and dribbling sinuses...

    Can't leave?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if you have allergies?

      Deported as a health hazard, and not allowed back?

    2. haggy

      Re: What if you have allergies?

      Correct, you can't leave -- unless you are willing to go to the other line where a person looks at your passport and speaks to you to confirm that you are the person associated with the passport. That's as opposed to what just about every country but the US does when you leave on an international flight, not to a country within a specific group such as another EU country. Namely, make 100% of people go to the "other" line where things are done manually, unless the country has an automated system which many do.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so, what is 1.2%

    According to Google its over 11000 visitors, and remember, its per year.. I think the headline would be more realistic with it.

    This is like speeches that contain numbers like 15 million and 17 billion. they appear to be only 2 apart when on is over one thousand one hundred and thirty-three times the other.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    free up JetBlue staff for other duties rather than scanning passes at the gate from continuing to be paid by JetBlue

  19. haggy

    This may be news to Americans, but to anybody else, how many countries have you been to (not counting trips within the EU where you aren't leaving the EU) where you didn't have to go through customs or immigration before a flight out of the country. Chances are excellent that the US is the only country you could name where your passport is checked by the government on the way in, but not on the way out. Everywhere else, the passport gets stamped, and likely scanned, on exit.

    If this becomes standard practice in the US, it will merely mean that the US will finally be doing what the rest of the world has been doing all along by having people pass through and show a passport to an actual government agent. So why is there so much shock? Even in developing nations such as Vietnam, they have the technology such that a border agent can scan a passport when you leave the country, as opposed to merely stamping your passport. But they always had the capability of writing down the information if a person was found to have overstayed a visa. The US is simply planning to be less intrusive, leaving out the questioning part, and capturing data only to compare it to data that they already have. It would be absolutely useless to scan your face if they didn't have information from your passport on the way in.

    1. Dabbb

      But CBP already has that data without any face recognition, if you ever visited USA you can retrieve form I-94 online and verify your arrival and departure dates. How less intrusive can it be ?

  20. elvisimprsntr

    Thanks to the US OPM hack, the Russian and Chinese gov't already have many US citizens personal details, including biometric fingerprints.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Personnel_Management_data_breach

    We do not have a mandatory national federal photo ID. Instead, we have a social security number (SSN) card, which is a piece of cardboard, with a 9 digit number and a signature. We have federally mandated RealID requirements for state issued photo IDs, which requires multiple forms of ID (including the cardboard SSN card) and other documentation proving who you are and where you live.

    Let's stop the charade and embrace our "Idiocracy" destiny.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R40EG3AmDHs

  21. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Biometric exit

    > In a memo [PDF] issued last week, US Homeland Security gushed about the effectiveness of Biometric Exit,

    The thing slightly confusing me is that the US introduced fingerprint biometric entry and exit in the mid 2000's and then scrapped it after just a few years. So it would be interesting to know what the reasons for scrapping it were then and how this new system is supposed to work better?

    [Icon: me giving Uncle Sam my thumbprint which 'he' probably still has filed away somewhere along with the rest of my fingerprints]

  22. Neoc

    Doesn't ring true

    <sigh> I call major BS on this. I regularly travel overseas from OZ, and in all cases when I both leave and arrive in a country I have to go through Customs (or the local equivalent). There, my passport is checked, my passport photo compared to my face, etc, etc, etc..

    If this *was* simply about catching people who overstay their visas, then a simple check of passport IDs should do it. If this is about catching people who overstay their visas then try to leave under an assumed identity, then scanning the PHOTO on the visa should be enough (since, supposedly, my mug has already been matched with the photo).

    Yes, there already are places which use an automated system to match your face with the photo on your passport, and SUPPOSEDLY this is a closed system... but even that sends a shiver down my spine as to how easily it can be opened to sending the data to an outside agency.

  23. johnnymotel

    How I long for the days when a quick trip across the Tijuana border for a burrito and swim could enable another 6 months on my visa....

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