U.S. Homeland Security has used facial recognition on over 43.7 million people

This morning in a hearing before House lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials detailed the administration’s use of facial recognition technologies across the country. It was the second such hearing to date — the first took place in July 2019 — and it followed less than a month after the agency’s decision not to expand screening at airports to all citizens embarking on international flights.

According to John Wagner, deputy executive assistant commissioner at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP), more than 43.7 million people have been scanned by the agency’s Traveler Verification Service and other such systems at border crossings, outbound cruise ships, and elsewhere so far. At undisclosed land borders, it helped to identify 252 people attempting to use a combined 75 U.S. travel documents (like passports and visas) belonging to someone else, about 7% (18) of which were under the age of 18 and 20% (46) of which had criminal records.