Credo Action

Tell JetBlue: Stop facial recognition

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The petition to JetBlue reads:

"End your biometric boarding program and stop violating customers' privacy."

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    Tell JetBlue: Stop facial recognition

    Imagine a world in which every company you interact with has your face on file, using facial recognition technology to compare your image against government databases and track your movements and transactions. JetBlue is trying to start that future now.

    Working with the Department of Homeland Security, JetBlue just instituted a biometric boarding program that scans passengers’ faces before letting them onto international flights.1 This program is totally unnecessary, and so far, most other airlines have not joined. But once passengers get used to being scanned, we can be sure that more airlines and other companies will start doing the same.

    JetBlue is paving the way for ubiquitous facial recognition technology. But as an early adopter of the DHS biometric scanning program, the company is also vulnerable to public pressure – and customers are already complaining.2 We need to amplify that pressure and demand that JetBlue ends this program before more airlines and other companies decide that working with DHS on facial recognition is good for business.

    Tell JetBlue: End your biometric boarding program.

    DHS expects to use facial recognition technology on 97% of departing international passengers within the next four years.3 No enrollment is necessary – DHS already has access to your passport photos in its database.

    Once companies and government agencies start tracking your private data – in this case, your face itself – who knows where that data will go next. A DHS official said that facial recognition technology could be shared with land border checkpoints and other public and private "partners."4 In the future, just boarding an international flight could send your image to the FBI or state databases. Instead of simply requiring you to verify your identity, the act of flying could become cause for law enforcement to conduct a search.5

    Facial recognition technology for boarding flights does not improve public safety. But it's a priority for the Trump administration because it allows DHS to crack down on those who overstay their visas.6 Facial recognition technology also reinforces racial injustice by regularly misidentifying people of color. Because facial recognition systems are trained on datasets of mostly white subjects, they have higher error rates when scanning people of other races.7

    Ubiquitous facial recognition technology would erode our privacy without making us any safer. Its proponents want to take us down a path we won't be able to return from. Our partners at Fight for the Future and Demand Progress are fighting back. We need to join them now to stop JetBlue and slow the momentum for a society defined by unchecked surveillance.

    Tell JetBlue: End your biometric boarding program.

    References:

    1. Jeremy Hobson and Jack Mitchell, "Check In For Your Flight With Your Face? Passenger Questions JetBlue Facial-Recognition System," WBUR, May 2, 2019.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Jon Porter, "US facial recognition will cover 97 percent of departing airline passengers within four years," The Verge, April 18, 2019.
    4. Russell Brandom, "Facial recognition is coming to US airports, fast-tracked by Trump," April 18, 2019.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Ibid.
    7. Ibid.