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Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Sens. Markey, Lee seek report on biometric identification technology

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Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) recently called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide Congress with the status of an overdue biometric identification technology report.

Under the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, DHS was required to provide the report by July 2, 2019, and the legislators are seeking an explanation regarding why the agency failed to meet the deadline.

“American travelers deserve to fully understand exactly who has access to their biometric data, how long their data will be held, how their information will be safeguarded and how they can opt out of this data collection altogether,” Markey and Lee wrote to DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan. “We, therefore, ask that you immediately provide this report to Congress and offer a detailed explanation of why DHS failed to meet the relevant statutory deadline.”

The report is intended to address privacy and security concerns stemming from the agency’s collection of facial recognition data, issues which both lawmakers previously raised with DHS. The correspondence was sent in the wake of a breach of traveler and vehicle images at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CBP officials said up to 100,000 individuals were impacted by the recent theft of images of license plates and travelers’ faces stolen from a CBP subcontractor.