Port of Seattle establishes guidelines for facial recognition technology at airport

SEATTLE - The Port of Seattle approved new guidelines for the possibility of facial recognition technology, or biometrics use, at Sea-Tac Airport.

The guidelines come after two study sessions in September and October involving several stakeholders, including immigrant rights groups, federal agencies and airline officials. The sessions looked at how private companies used facial recognition technology, security and privacy concerns, and the federal implementation of biometrics.

Port commissioners also formed a working group. Their primary role is to use the guidelines and create actual facial recognition policy. Their report is expected to be completed by March of next year, and the Port is expected to officially adopt policies in June.

"We know of more than 20 other airports that have implemented facial recognition technology, but no other Port has undergone a public process to ensure that implementation would protect passenger rights, and be limited, transparent, and ethical," said Port of Seattle Commission President Stephanie Bowman.

According to the principles adopted by the Port Commission, the use of biometrics in Port facilities must be the following:

    Commissioners plan to formally adopt facial recognition policies by June 30, 2020.