papersplease.org / July 16th, 2017
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has expanded its photography of the faces of all non-US citizens entering or leaving the US (under the “US-VISIT” program) to add mug shots of US citizens leaving the country, starting with all passengers on a daily flight on United Airlines from Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) to Dubai, U.A.E. (DXB).
This exit photo scheme is part of a larger program of biometric traveler tracking for which CBP and DHS recently opened an entire new database management and airport procedures simulation facility.
US citizens have the legal right not to submit to this mass surveillance and travel control scheme. But as with your right to fly without ID, CBP notices at airports won’t tell you that. You need to know your rights and be prepared to assert them.
CBP has not yet complied with the notice and approval prerequisites for requiring US citizens to submit to photography as a condition of leaving the country. The Federal “Paperwork Reduction Act” prohibits the CBP or any other DHS component or other Federal agency from imposing any sanctions on US citizens who decline to participate in the unapproved facial photography component of the “Traveler Verification Service” (TVS). Denial of the right to travel by common carrier is clearly a “sanction” within the meaning of the PRA.
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