Every day, with the passing of time and more Baby Boomers, fewer and fewer people remember life before the horrific attacks in the United States that took place on September 11, 2001.
That date is significant in U.S. history because it launched the Bush administration’s unending and unwinnable War on Terror. The event justified the creation of the now billion-dollar Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its spawn, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The American people were never consulted about how their country could or should respond to the events of that fateful day. However, it’s probably fair to say that, in the aftershock of the 9/11 attacks, very few U.S. citizens questioned the need for new government groups to handle national security threats posed by what we were told were international terrorists.
Americans continue to willingly surrender their civil rights – and even pay for the theft.
TSA announced earlier this month (April 2019) that, within four years, they will be able to screen 97 percent of all departing airline passengers using facial recognition systems. These match digital maps of human faces to an identification database where many forms of ID are kept, including passport and driver’s license information.
Airline flight manifests will be replaced by this new expensive high technology, according to TSA.
The system can be programmed to issue an alert when a traveler’s facial scan matches a database record for a person on the federal list of known terrorists, any other type of criminal, any suspected terrorist, or any other “person of interest” – basically, anybody.
Remember, the DHS thinks you might be a terrorist if you home-school your kids, support Libertarians, support the 2nd Constitutional Amendment, support U.S. Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties or belief in a New World Order conspiracy.
Now how do you feel about going to an airport where your face will be scanned and compared to a database with all sorts of personal information about you – your address, where your kids go to school, who you owe money, and even what organizations you give money to?
TSA began using facial recognition technology in 2017. By the end of 2018, 15 U.S. airports were equipped and operational with the next generation of public spyware.
It would be one thing if TSA were a well-oiled machine that bragged about its ability to counter terrorism. But no. Long lines waiting for TSA service are the stuff of legend, yet we hear very little from this shadowy group about their triumphs. Yet, we continue to submit to their ever-changing whims about the rules and procedures needed for air travel safety before boarding a plane.
On the plus side, this new “Biometric Exit” procedure does finger people traveling with expired visas. Out of 15,000 flights tracked, 7,000 passengers were identified who overstayed their visas. This offense is punishable by a ban from entering the United States for up to 10 years.
But biometric identification systems also give government officials a veritable trove of gratuitous information about all air passengers, whether they are suspected of wrong-doing or not.
This is what rings alarms bells among privacy advocates:
“Critics argue that building up a database of millions of people’s photographs is a threat to civil liberties. Once you have the database, it would be easy to share it with other agencies, effectively turning it into a search tool for all law enforcement.”
We now see what that end is: to turn every airport in the nation into a federally- and locally-policed area capable of using sophisticated facial recognition technology to alert Big Brother to the presence of and identify any and all Persons of Interest who attempt to fly.
The Trump administration has prioritized airport facial recognition. What next?
The truth is not pleasant. Under the guise of increasing landside-to-airside security and reducing ongoing operating costs, “U.S. airports are implementing the idea of replacing human guards with automated systems to detect and prevent exit-lane breaches,” according to IsoTec, a company that sells airport security doors.
These double-door systems trap each person leaving the airport briefly before releasing their prey into the outside world. Mechanical breakdowns aside, just think how a system like this could be compromised or abused.
Want to round up all the home-schoolers? How about those pesky free-thinkers and Libertarians? Let’s head over to the airport and trap ’em as they try to leave!
How will We the People of the United States react when U.S. airports – and perhaps those all around the world – become lock-down facilities capable of preventing any “person of interest” from entering or exiting?
Will we put our trust in the same government that sold us Common Core to improve education and the Affordable Care Act to improve healthcare?
Or will We the People finally stand up, before it’s too late, and demand some say in how our government treats us?
Just Say NO! to TSA facial recognition scanning. Pass it on – to your Congressional representatives. Your voice and your vote count.