CBP Publishes Its Privacy Evaluation Report of the Traveler Verification Service (TVS) – Customs and Border Protection

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WASHINGTON — As part of its continuing effort to promote organizational accountability and transparency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), and the Office of Privacy and Diversity (PDO) released a report of the Traveler Verification Service (TVS) in support of CBP’s Biometric Entry-Exit (BE-E) Program.
CBP built the Traveler Verification Service – a facial biometric matching system — to automate the identity verification process to further secure and enhance travel while advancing the Biometric Entry-Exit mandate.
In FY2018, CBP published the TVS Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) which, directed the PDO to conduct a privacy evaluation of the BE-E Program’s use of the biometric facial comparison technology, TVS.
“The publication of this report underscores CBP’s commitment to promote transparency and accountability across the agency while ensuring that traveler data is well protected within our systems” said Matthew S. Davies, Executive Director of Admissibility and Passenger Programs in the Office of Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The final report outlines the PDO’s findings and recommendations by determining whether the BE-E Program collects, maintains, uses, and shares information using TVS in a manner that is consistent and compliant with the privacy mitigations described in its PIA, the DHS Privacy Policy Guidance Memorandum on the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs), and the CBP Directive for Privacy Policy, Compliance, and Implementation.
In conducting the assessment, CBP Privacy Office personnel reviewed existing privacy compliance documentation, policies, and legal requirements associated with TVS. They also developed a comprehensive questionnaire designed to aid in understanding the functions of TVS and clarify questions that arose during CBP Privacy Office’s review of program-related compliance documents.
The report found that OFO and the Office of Information Technology were utilizing TVS in support of the BE-E Program in a manner that is compliant with requirements in current privacy compliance documentation, DHS/CBP policy, and U.S. law.
CBP has a Congressional mandate to biometrically record all foreign nationals who enter and exit the United States.  Years of testing have demonstrated that the use of biometric facial comparison technology through public/private partnerships is the most secure, efficient, and cost-effective way to fulfill the Congressional mandate while protecting the privacy of all travelers. Overall, the use of facial biometrics provides travelers with a secure, touchless process that modernizes air travel and supports travel recovery.
To date, CBP has processed over 200 million travelers using biometric facial comparison technology and prevented more than 1,600 impostors from entry to the U.S.
A link to the full report can be found here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the comprehensive management, control, and protection of our nation’s borders, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection at and between official ports of entry.
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