HONOLULU (KHON2) — More facial recognition cameras will be installed at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. This time, to speed up the check-in process for international travelers and enhance security measures.
Facial recognition cameras are already being used when international passengers arrive. The idea is to have them set up when the passengers leave.
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The state installed facial recognition as well as thermal screening cameras at the airport last year as an extra layer of protection during the pandemic. Those are no longer being used with the end of the Safe Travels program. But cameras are in use to verify the identities of those arriving from foreign countries.
“This is deployed in approximately over 40 airports. It has the ability to identify imposters using this facial recognition technology, and it really has enhanced our security efforts,” said Chris Hawkins, Assistant Port Director with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
It’s called Simplified Arrival because passengers won’t have to scan their passports and provide their fingerprints. The plan is to have 41 facial recognition cameras at different gates for Simplified Departure.
“What it does is when you’re traveling internationally, it really does speed up the process. So it’s going to make it more efficient for passengers who are leaving,” said Jai Cunningham, Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman.
The state has put out a bid to install the system for $15 million. While there aren’t a lot of international travelers now because of the pandemic, officials expect that to improve later this year.
“We expect that travel from Japan, from Korea, from Australia. We expect it to start to really pick up and see a noticeable difference. So it’s going to be important moving forward to get this installed,” said Cunningham.
Officials say Hawaii was getting up to 8,000 international arrivals a day before the pandemic. Facial recognition will streamline the process and make identity verification more accurate. And for those who have privacy concerns?
“We’ve taken steps to ensure the privacy of all travelers. For instance, encryption as well as we discard photos of U.S. citizens within 12 hours of identity verification,” said Hawkins.
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Travelers are allowed to opt out of Simplified Arrival and Departure and will be processed manually. Cameras for departures will be installed by September 2023.