Skip to Content

Government Surveillance

CDT Joins Coalition Letter to Secretary Mayorkas on Proposed Expansion of Face Recognition at Airports

The Center for Democracy & Technology joined the ACLU, Access Now, and 20+ other leading civil rights, immigrant rights, and technology policy organizations on a coalition letter to the Department of Homeland Security, to rescind a harrowing NPRM and suspend the use of facial recognition technology on travelers.

A section of the letter has been pasted below, and you can read the full letter and the list of signatories here.


Re: 85 Fed. Reg. 74162, Collection of Biometric Data from Aliens Upon Entry to and Departure from the United States

Dear Secretary Mayorkas:

The undersigned civil rights, civil liberties, immigrants’ rights, technology, and privacy organizations write to urge the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to immediately rescind the above-referenced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published on November 19, 2020, and to suspend the use of facial recognition technology on travelers.

During the public comment period on the NPRM, numerous civil society organizations submitted comments in opposition to the proposed regulations, which would massively expand the government’s use of facial recognition technology and endanger the rights of tens of millions of immigrants and visitors to the United States.

On February 9, 2021, the Biden-Harris administration announced that CBP would reopen the period for public comments on these controversial proposed regulations. Commentators have perceived this reopening of the comment period as a sign that DHS and CBP intend to proceed with the deployment of mandatory face recognition of nonU.S. citizens at U.S. airports and the border.

For the reasons below, rather than allow the proposed regulations to advance to the next stage of the rulemaking process, DHS and CBP should immediately withdraw the NPRM and suspend their use of this dangerous technology.

Read the full letter + the list of signatories here.

Read CDT’s original comments to DHS here.

Read CDT’s supplemental comments to DHS here.