ACLU Endorses New Senate Bill Banning TSA from Using Facial Recognition Technology in Airports

November 29, 2023 4:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — Today Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and a bipartisan group of senators introduced the Traveler Privacy Protection Act, a bill that would prohibit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from using facial recognition or matching technology in airports — a move that the American Civil Liberties Union has been recommending for years.

This bill comes after reports surfaced that TSA was piloting a “voluntary” facial recognition program to expedite the security process while not actually making the voluntary nature clear to travelers. The bill would put an end not only to this pilot, but preclude TSA from future experiments.

Cody Venzke, senior policy counsel at ACLU, issued the following statement:

“Sen. Merkley’s bill is an incredibly important — and incredibly simple — step towards curbing the many likely abuses of the government forcing us to use facial recognition and facial matching technology at airports. There is overwhelming evidence that this technology disproportionately misidentifies and harms marginalized communities. On top of that, there is no proof that this invasive technology meaningfully makes us safer. Congress must take this critical opportunity to protect our constitutional right to privacy.”

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