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Why does the immigration officer at Customs and Border Protection Office take a picture of you upon arrival?


Immigration officers take pictures of each newly arrived foreign citizen in customs. These photos are then matched against a large database of facial pictures held by the Interagency Border Inspection System. At the end of 2013, the Congressional Continuing Resolution allotted money for US Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology or US-VISIT, which would use facial recognition algorithms to match pictures, including those of known criminals or terrorists, to faces in a crowd. The the next time a crowd gathers at a rally or marathon, a technology called Biometric Optical Surveillance System, or BOSS, could be tagging faces and alerting authorities to suspects. Although currently being tested for accuracy, the Department of Homeland Security is keen on acquiring this technology. 


In a dense crowd, how accurate is this technology? Some tests say 99%, but where does this number come from?And, can faces lie?


Our project would investigate BOSS amongst other facial recognition technologies andseek to understand the privacy and social implications of such a tool in a public space.


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