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Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Passenger With Fake Passport At the US Airport

Facial recognition came into play earlier this year when a suspect arrested for a shooting at a newsroom in Annapolis.

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Facial recognition technology is used to screen people before they visit the Statue of Liberty in New York, US.
Facial recognition technology is used to screen people before they visit the Statue of Liberty in New York, US.. Flickr
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Facial recognition technology was credited with the arrest this week of a man attempting to use a fake passport to enter the United States at Washington’s Dulles airport, officials said.

Officials said that on the third day of deployment of the new technology, border agents were able to determine that the man was using a fake French passport.

US Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said Dulles is one of 14 “early adopter airports” using facial recognition technology for the entry process and began deploying it Monday.

On Wednesday, a 26-year-old man travelling from Sao Paulo, Brazil sought to enter with a French passport but the facial comparison biometric system determined he was not a match to the passport he presented.

A search revealed the man’s authentic Republic of Congo identification card concealed in his shoe. His name was not released.

The use of facial recognition has been growing for law enforcement, border control and other uses, even as concerns have risen on privacy.

Privacy activists say there are few safeguards on the databases used and that the technology evokes fears of a “Big Brother” surveillance state.

US Airport
US Customs and Border Protection, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said Dulles is one of 14 “early adopter airports” using facial recognition technology for the entry process. Flickr

Heightening those concerns are studies showing facial recognition may not always be accurate, especially for people of color.

The technology is being adopted around the world, with China a heavy user of facial recognition for law enforcement.

The airport border agents use the biometric system to determine if the person is using a real passport, claiming it speeds the entry and exit process.

The agency is also assessing the use of biometric technology as part of a process from check-in to departure in which travellers use biometrics instead of their boarding pass.

The agency said in a release it is “committed to its privacy obligations” and has published several privacy impact assessments.

Also Read: Apple Deletes Security App of Facebook from App Store

Facial recognition came into play earlier this year when a suspect arrested for a shooting at a newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, refused to cooperate with police and could not immediately be identified using the fingerprint. (VOA)

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Advanced Technology Required To Tackle Online Sex Trade and Trafficking: Analysts

At least 40 million people are victims of modern slavery worldwide.

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Trafficking
People opposed to child sex trafficking rally in Washington. VOA

The online sale of sex slaves is going strong despite new U.S. laws to clamp down on the crime, data analysts said Wednesday, urging a wider use of technology to fight human trafficking.

In April, the United States passed legislation aimed at making it easier to prosecute social media platforms and websites that facilitate sex trafficking, days after a crackdown on classified ad giant Backpage.com.

The law resulted in an immediate and sharp drop in sex ads online but numbers have since picked up again, data presented at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference showed.

“The market has been destabilized and there are now new entrants that are willing to take the risk in order to make money,” Chris White, a researcher at tech giant Microsoft who gathered the data, told the event in London.

Google, Web summit, sexual misconduct, trafficking
Google employees fill Harry Bridges Plaza in front of the Ferry Building during a walkout, Nov. 1, 2018, in San Francisco. Hundreds of Google employees around the world briefly walked off the job in a protest against what they said is the tech company’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. VOA

New players

Backpage.com, a massive advertising site primarily used to sell sex — which some analysts believe accounted for 80 percent of online sex trafficking in the United States — was shut down by federal authorities in April.

Days later, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which introduced stiff prison sentences and fines for website owners and operators found guilty of contributing to sex trafficking, was passed into law.

The combined action caused the number of online sex ads to fall 80 percent to about 20,000 a day nationwide, White said.

The number of ads has since risen to about 60,000 a day, as new websites filled the gap, he said.

In October — in response to a lawsuit accusing it of not doing enough to protect users from human traffickers — social media giant Facebook said it worked internally and externally to thwart such predators.

 

Trafficking
This April 6, 2018, file photo shows a screenshot of Backpage.com on the day that federal authorities seized the classified site as part of a criminal case. VOA

 

Using technology to continuously monitor and analyze this kind of data is key to evaluating existing laws and designing new and more effective ones, White said.

“It really highlights what’s possible through policy,” added Valiant Richey, a former U.S. prosecutor who now fights human trafficking at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), echoing the calls for new methods.

Law enforcement agencies currently tackle slavery one case at a time, but the approach lacks as the crime is too widespread and authorities are short of resources, he said.

As a prosecutor in Seattle, Richey said his office would work on up to 80 cases a year, while online searches revealed more than 100 websites where sex was sold in the area, some carrying an average of 35,000 ads every month.

Also Read: Sexual Misconduct Cases Will Be Handled Better: Google

“We were fighting forest fire with a garden hose,” he said. “A case-based response to human trafficking will not on its own carry the day.”

At least 40 million people are victims of modern slavery worldwide — with nearly 25 million trapped in forced labor and about 15 million in forced marriages. (VOA)