In the upcoming months, the Department of Homeland Security will be increasing its use of facial recognition software, including iris scans, in an attempt to catch illegal immigrants before they reach the states. The new technology compares passport pictures to pictures taken in person, looking for facial cues that determine how likely the two are a real match.
Privacy rights advocates are concerned that this technology will eventually be used to track U.S. citizens.
Although the Department of Homeland Security promises these images are shared in a private database and will be deleted after the three-month pilot project, it’s hard to be certain. The NSA may end its surveillance on Sunday, but the organization plans to keep the information it has gathered. Officials say that the NSA will not wipe the data off its servers, but will lock all doors into the system, barring those without a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order to use the information.
It’s easy to imagine the Department of Homeland Security finding a similar loophole after the allotted three months, allowing them to keep their pictures and facial recognition software for as long as they see fit.