AST Digital Magazine July/August 2016 - Page 73

Volume 6 have overstayed their visas. Privacy issues were a concern throughout the test as current law prohibits the capture or storage of U.S. citizens’ iris or facial biometrics. The Otay Mesa project began last December. Iris ID kiosks equipped with fully-automatic iris-face capture capabilities at the Otay Mesa Border Crossing CBP agents were stationed at in-bound lanes checking pedestrians’ credentials such as passports, visas or enhanced driver’s licenses to separate foreigners and U.S. citizens. Most visa packages carried by foreign visitors also include the person’s fingerprints. During a first inbound visit, agents directed foreigners to one of five kiosks equipped with a fully-automatic iris-face capture system. The unit self-adjusts to a user’s height to simultaneously capture an iris and face image at distances of about two feet. Individuals were asked to remove hats and/or scarfs, but glasses could remain on. Motivated, cooperative subjects completed enrollment in five seconds or less. Software digitized and encrypted the images for storage in a standalone, onsite CBP database. Once a pedestrian completed the process there was no need to repeat it. During future visits in-lane cameras captured their images for comparison to those in the onsite database. In addition to U.S. citizens – required since 2009 to present a passport or enhanced state driver’s license to re-enter the country – foreigners under the age of 14 or older than 79 were exempted from the collection of biometric data. Officials wanted to see how effective the technology could be with pedestrians receiving minimal instructions, while moving quickly through the checkpoint. Still, signs, lights and videos helped direct pedestrians to and explained the use of the kiosks. According to one CBP official, many pedestrians were slow to comply with the new regulations. Jo- July-Aug 2016 Edition seph Misenhelter, CBP’s assistant port director for the Otay Mesa passenger crossing, said about 80 percent of the adult foreigners were regular border crossers. Iris ID kiosk iris-face identity recognition processing “They did what they had done every other time — they proceeded directly to one of our officers,” he said. Misenhelter spoke in mid-July to a group of security professionals at a meeting of the San Diego chapter of ASIS International. He said CBP added an agent at each kiosk to ensure protocol was followed. By using agents only on the morning and late afternoon peak crossing times, the agency was able to reduce some of the added expense. In February, the identification process was extended to the outbound pedestrian lanes. Foreigners could be asked to continue moving at normal speed past cameras without removing hats or other outwear; stop briefly in front of an iris reader; or pause before another kiosk capturing iris & facial data. U.S. citizens and young and elderly foreigners could continue into Mexico without delay. The test wasn’t designed for optimal data gathering. It was set in a high-stress environment with varying weather conditions, bright sunlight and distractions such as three lanes of motor vehicle traffic adjacent to the pedestrian lanes. “We wanted to see what the reliability of these various technologies would be in an outdoor environment,” said Misenhelter. “Could we allow people to keep their hats and glasses on?” He said he couldn’t comment on the accuracy or effectiveness of any technology used in the pilot project until the evaluation is complete. But Misenhelter said a significant number of pedestrians looked away during the iris/face capture process. There were no penalties or delays for not cooperating. All pedestrians were given a green light to proceed even if the data capture failed. Making continued passage contingent on cooperation could remedy non-compliance. Misenhelter also said the CBP initially expected the 73