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Monday,  July 15, 2024 7:05 AM 

CBSA eyeing smartphone facial recognition system for crossing border

CBSA eyeing smartphone facial recognition system for crossing border
Pax Global Media

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is eyeing new technology that would allow travellers to use facial recognition technology to identify themselves through their smartphones when crossing the border, the Canadian Press reports.

The federal project is meant to help facilitate a faster and more seamless travel experience.  

Ottawa recently issued a notice seeking technical solutions from possible vendors, setting aside a budget of $25 million (USD) dollars. According to CP, the new technology would match a traveller's passport photo with a selfie taken using a smartphone.

The futuristic tool won’t take shape anytime soon – a pilot project that’s in the works is still two to four years away, CP reports – and the initiative is expected to generate some controversy.

CP says an Ottawa-based civil liberties coalition is already flagging concerns about privacy and accountability.

CBSA, meanwhile, says it ensures the privacy of travellers and their information is always protected.

Facial recognition technology isn’t a new concept in the travel industry.  

Air Canada, for example, launched a pilot program in February 2023 that allows select passengers flying out of Vancouver International Airport to board a flight without showing ID, and access lounges at Toronto Pearson International Airport, using facial recognition.

The technology is also used for Nexus cardholders returning from the U.S. and overseas.

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