US Customs and Border Protection is rolling out new technology at Kennedy Airport to increase security at inspection checkpoints.
NY1's Clodagh McGowan reports.
US Customs and Border Protection officers process more travelers at Kennedy Airport annually than any other international port nationwide. Last year, they served 14 million people.
Now, C-B-P officers will begin using facial comparison technology, to verify travelers entering the country match the passport they present.
"We've tested other things here and this is a great place to implement this," said Gil Kerlikowske, the US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner.
Kerlikowske announced the new program Tuesday. The Facial Comparison technology works with ePassports, which are embedded with a microchip. While going through inspection, a photograph is taken and compared with the passport picture stored on the chip.
"The physical characteristics are unique to each individual. Finger prints, iris images, facial dimensions, unlike biographical information which is a name, or a date of birth, biometric information cannot be falsified," said Kerlikowske.
The images taken will only be used to assist the CBP officers and will not be saved, unless action is needed. The agency first tested the technology on more than five-thousand people at Washington Doulles airport through a pilot program. Commissioner Kerlikowske says it was successful and didn't slow down the travel process.
"The last thing you want to do when people get off a 12 or 14 hour flight and they're in line is to make their wait even longer. So, it was important that we have security but it's important that we facilitate the travel," said Kerlikowske.
CBP is considering bringing this technology to air, land and sea ports of entry nationwide. The program will soon be implemented to Washing Doulles International Airport next month.
Officials say they're looking at how quickly they can roll out the technology to other ports. This new process applies to U.S. Citizens and first time Visa Waiver Program travelers.