ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - International passengers are starting to step onto their flights with a simple stare at Orlando International Airport.
The airport, along with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, have begun using facial recognition scanners on some flights and are expected to announce details this week to expand the program to all incoming and departing international flights.
Passengers who had crossed through the scanners to enter the airport Monday said it was an unexpected, but quick process.
"It took less than 10 seconds. It was pretty straight forward and it actually saves you some time because you don't have to fill out the paper anymore,” said Deji Keyode who’d just deplaned a flight from London.
The airport’s been testing out the tech since late April in an effort to speed up wait times throughout the security process. Eventually though, they said their goal is to be the first airport to utilize facial scanners at every international gate; the airport board committing $4 million to the effort.
The scanners are actually outside of the international gates and passengers will pass through them to board a flight or deplane. According to information released by the airport and by CBP, the scanners match travelers’ faces to the federal database of passport and visa photos.
Similar technology is being tested out at other airports as well and some airlines have boasted success in boarding their largest planes in under 15-20 minutes thanks to the tech.
Orlando security expert Dave Benson of D.J. Benson and Associates said facial recognition technology has been slowly working into the security world for decades now, often quietly, but that the newest incarnations show promise.
He said one of the biggest factors that make or break the tech though is the size of the data base that it can pull from. In this case, the CBP database, he said it seemed like a good security strategy.
However, Benson cautions not to let the high tech be the only safety barrier.
"At some point we still have to have a human being that analyzes it or it's 100% reliability on technology,” said Benson, “we're just not there yet."
Benson also pointed out concerns about privacy that have come up with some facial recognition technology being put into place elsewhere. He said it has to be clear where, how, and for how long such data is being held as well as who may have access to it.