Without any statutory or constitutional authority, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is plotting to force all Americans traveling internationally to have their faces scanned for biometric data. Pilot programs are already occurring at major U.S. airports. And for those Americans who do not wish to have their privacy lawlessly invaded and their private biometric data collected and analyzed by Big Brother, the feds have a ridiculous solution: just don't travel. Seriously. Big Business is jumping on board, too. And the mass-murdering dictatorship enslaving Communist China is unleashing similar Orwellian schemes at airports to use biometric data and facial recognition software, with Uncle Sam helping to blaze the trail. But as criticism grows, with terms such as “police state” being used across the political spectrum, activists hope to quash the power grab in the United States before it gets fully off the ground.
In America, the saga began 15 years ago, when Congress authorized the collection of data on foreigners leaving the country. After September 11, Congress instructed Homeland Security to set up a “biometric exit system.” Under the plan currently being rolled out, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will collect biometric facial data, and combine it with the most advanced facial recognition software and “cloud computing,” according to CBP officials quoted in media reports. Homeland Security documents show pilot programs began last summer, with the feds using cameras between the boarding pass readers and the airplane to “take a photograph of each traveler prior to boarding.” Those photos were then matched with “previous-acquired photos of the same traveler.” When a match was not found, the traveler was ordered to provide fingerprints. Airlines including Delta and JetBlue collaborated in the lawlessness.
The scheme to capture data on outbound foreigners has been approved by Congress on multiple occasions. However, lawmakers have never once authorized the collection of such data on Americans. Most recently, President Donald Trump issued an executive order clarifying yet again that the biometric scans were for foreigners, not Americans. But U.S. officials acknowledge that all Americans will inevitably be scanned too. And they say there is no way around out — no opt outs, no exclusions for U.S. citizens, nothing. The only way to avoid having your biometric data captured, stored, processed, and analyzed by the federal government is to not travel, according to Homeland Security. “The only way for an individual to ensure he or she is not subject to collection of biometric information when traveling internationally is to refrain from traveling,” reads a June, 2017, Homeland Security report entitled “Privacy Impact Assessment Update for the Traveler Verification Service.” Refusing would result in being denied boarding.
In short, unless you are willing to have the federal government scan your face's biometric data into its Orwellian system, you are officially trapped in the United States, with no legal way out, forever. Eventually, it will almost certainly expand beyond just traveling abroad, too.
But critics are sounding the alarm. “DHS has never consulted the American public about whether Americans should be subject to face recognition,” wrote Harrison Rudolph, a law fellow at the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, noting that Congress never authorized it. “What's even worse is there is good reason to think Homeland Security's face recognition systems will be expanded.” Among other candidates for the biometric expansion would be Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, where the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution are shredded on a daily basis by the federal government. “Must Americans really submit to a perpetual line-up to fly?” Rudolph wondered after outlining the Orwellian implications. The far-left American Civil Liberties Union has also raised privacy concerns.
Of course, similar developments are occurring around the world — particularly under totalitarian regimes, but even under some Western governments that would be widely regarded as free. Authorities in Australia, Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Dubai, among others, are currently in the process of rolling out biometric face-recognition schemes at airports. But perhaps the most troubling is the plot being unveiled by the mass-murdering communist dictatorship in China. According to news reports, the regime is working with Baidu, a Communist Chinese Party-controlled social media and search engine behemoth, to do facial recognition of passengers at Beijing's international airport. Eventually, the regime plans to eliminate boarding passes, forcing all travelers to submit to biometric facial scanning to get on a plane. Similar schemes are already in place at some Chinese restaurants and theme parks. And this is just the start.
Author and researcher Patrick Wood, who wrote Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation, explained that the dangers of these trends go even beyond what most critics have so far warned about. “It's horrendous,” he said in a brief phone interview. “This will open the door for government-wide application of facial recognition for identification. The very fact that you're monitored changes your behavior — that's social engineering. There's been much written on this. When you put a subject under observation, they behave differently. This is the heart of technocracy: surveillance and data. It's for the sake of social engineering. They're trying to take control of society, and micro-manage it.”
He also highlighted developments in China, which he has repeatedly cited as a warning on the dangers of technocracy. “What's happening in China with the very persistent surveillance is happening here,” Wood explained. “We're maybe a year behind them.”
Plus, this will go far beyond international travel. “They want to know who you are, where you're going, what you're doing, and so on,” Wood said. “If they can identify you at the airport, they can identify you anywhere. Combine that with the technology that now has the ability to read your emotions, and you realize that your face tells a lot more than just who you are. When you use some of the Artificial Intelligence software to analyze a person's mood, they say they're looking for terrorists, they can tell whether you're happy, sad, depressed, worried. What they're not saying is, what is to stop them from using the full psychographic capabilities, which they already have anyway, against you. This is all part of it.”
And it gets worse. Anyone thinking they have “nothing to hide” should consider pronouncements and reports from the unconstitutional Homeland Security bureaucracy in recent years. During the Obama administration, for example, DHS issued reports suggesting that tens of millions of Americans we... or even potential domestic terrorists based solely on their mainstream political views. In the now-infamous report entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," the DHS highlighted as potential extremists and terrorists everyone from returning American veterans to those who oppose abortion, gun control, lax immigration enforcement, “free trade” agreements, one world government, and even the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs
. While it drew widespread criticism from groups across the political spectrum — especially after DHS was caught using known hoax websites as “sources” — the sentiment continued to be expressed by Obama's bureaucracies.
Evangelicals, Catholics, and Orthodox Jews were labeled "religious extremists" on the same side as al-Qaeda and Hamas. And many of the bureaucrats responsible for the demonization of so many Americans still work there.
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Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook.