The latest data security scandal can increase the discrepancies with the use of state surveillance, in particular the rapid spread of face recognition systems in America. The image of 100,000 people could be put into the hands of unauthorized people after the photographs taken at American airports and border crossings were acquired by hackers. The authorities acknowledged the incident.
The portraits of American travelers at border crossings and the license plates of their vehicles could be massively lost, CBP, the US Border Inspection Authority, admitted. According to US Customs and Border Protection, less than one hundred thousand travelers may have been victims of abuse, underlining that this is a small figure compared to one million people in the United States daily.
Face-based checks in the United States are increasingly triggering traditional passport checks for international travel. Ideally, it works so that passengers do not have to show any personal documents at the entrance gates, instead the face scanner takes a photograph of them, compared to the photos in the federal authority database based on artificial intelligence (MI). According to the authorities, it is possible to identify people with much greater security and to help criminals and other problematic cases with human assistance.
This is already working in most international airports in America, but the passengers’ consent is required, they can even refuse the scanner. According to the authorities, MI works with 99 percent security, but the Washington Post’s journalist reports a much worse rate of frequent misrepresentations based on his personal experience.
However, data security may be an even greater problem with technical efficiency. The US Border Guard Authority has now confirmed to TechCrunch that massive data theft has occurred in recent months: data of nearly 100,000 passengers may have been unauthorized. They claim that a subcontractor, without the knowledge and consent of CBP, made a copy of the photos in violation of the rules and forwarded them to his own corporate system. According to the official announcement, abuses took place at a single border crossing point and were about a month and a half.
Although it is not a problematic company, press reports suggest Perceptics, the only license plate reader in US road border stations. Perceptics was hacked in May and the data was also reported to be dark web.
The face and image recognition data trap, though much smaller in size, reminds us of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica’s political-technological earthquake abuse. There was also a subcontractor there, while the problems of regulation and larger corporate guarantees were revealed.
Confidence in face recognition is a big topic anyway recently. In China, the 21st century total surveillance state is largely based on face recognition: 170 million cameras have been deployed so far, and 400 million cameras will be deployed in the coming years. Usage is also growing in America, most recently due to fears in San Francisco, forbidding the city to identify passers-by using face recognition algorithms to analyze images of surveillance cameras.