Demand Progress

Tell the TSA to shut down their facial recognition program!

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    Tell the TSA to shut down their facial recognition program!

    Petition to the TSA:
    We call on you to immediately suspend programs requiring domestic travelers to submit “mugshots” to facial recognition scanners before being allowed to fly.

    The TSA wants to make their airport security lines even more invasive.

    Recently, they’ve announced plans to team up with Customs and Border Patrol to require domestic travelers to submit to “mugshots” for a facial recognition program in order to fly.1

    What could go wrong? A lot! Tell the TSA to immediately shut down this facial recognition program.

    For one, facial recognition technology is still alarmly bad at identifying women and people of color.2 That programing bias could result in discriminating against anyone who isn’t a white male from flying.

    Worse, the TSA is tight lipped on what happens to facial scan data after it’s collected, and that’s a major privacy concern. As a federal agency, will the TSA share that data with the FBI, NSA, DEA, ICE, or local law enforcement? We don’t know.

    TSA security lines already make us submit to body scans, remove our shoes, and limit what kinds of products we can pack in carry-on bags. And according to research studies, those security precautions don’t even work that well at protecting us.3 Now they want to go the extra, invasive, personal mile by forcing us to submit “mugshots” to a facial recognition program just to be able to fly.

    Tell the TSA: End this facial recognition program with Customs and Border Patrol immediately.


    1. Engadget, “TSA outlines its plans for facial recognition on domestic flights,” October 15, 2018.
    2. New York Times, “Facial Recognition Is Accurate, if You’re a White Guy,” February 9, 2018.
    3. Vox, “The TSA is a waste of money that doesn't save lives and might actually cost them,” September 11, 2016