Facial recognition technology that is supposed to detect terrorists failed to match identities of a test group of employees at Boston’s Logan Airport in 38 percent of the cases, says the American Civil Liberties Union, based on a report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Boston Globe says that other technology that scanned eyes of airport employees entering secure areas to verify their identities was rejected by Massachusetts Port Authority officials, partly because some employees found it too intrusive.
Other measures have been more successful and will soon be adopted, including the installation of infrared cameras to detect intruders around the airport’s perimeter and hand-held computers that police can use to run background checks on people or to check license plates.
During the facial recognition test, the photographs of 40 volunteer employees were scanned into a database. Cameras at two checkpoints relayed the images of everyone passing through to a computer, which compared them to the pictures stored in its memory. It used facial recognition technology to come up with a match.
Bernard Bailey, the president of one firm providing the technology, admits that it still isn’t good enough. “The hype of this technology got way ahead of the capabilities of it,” he said.