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Biometrics External Advisory Group

COVID-19 and travel at SEA Airport More Information

On December 10, 2019, the Port of Seattle Commission established guiding principles for the public-facing use of biometric technology at Port facilities. The next step translated those principles into tangible, enforceable policies that govern Port decision-making on this topic. On March 10, 2020 Commission approved the Biometric Air Exit Policy Recommendations.

The External Advisory Group will provide guidance, feedback, and technical expertise to Port staff throughout their policymaking process — including reviewing drafts of proposed policies and sharing best practices, research, and diverse stakeholder perspectives on the issue of public-facing biometric technology at Port facilities. While the Advisory Group will not have any formal voting structure or direct authorities, its feedback will be essential to help shape proposed policies that the Port Commission will consider in Q2 of 2020. The Advisory Group comprises community partners, travelers, maritime and aviation industry partners, and other impacted stakeholders. 

Federal government actions

Under its federal authority, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) already uses biometric technology to confirm the identity of passengers leaving the country at more than two dozen U.S. airports, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. 

The Port is working with CBP to ensure that passengers are fully educated about their rights and options related to facial recognition screening.

The federal mandate to begin using facial recognition for international passenger processing led the Port of Seattle Commission to pursue biometric principles and tangible, enforceable policies to implement those principles. The Port is working closely with our internal working group and our external advisory group to develop and finalize those policies according to the timelines laid out in the Commission motion.

Materials presented to Commission

    December 11, 2020

    October 8, 2020 Commission Biometrics Special Committee Meeting

    April 14, 2020 Commission Meeting

    March 31, 2020 Commission Biometrics Special Committee Meeting

    March 10, 2020 Commission Meeting

    February 25, 2020 Commission Meeting

    February 18, 2020 Commission Biometrics Special Committee Meeting

    December 10, 2019 Commission Meeting

    October 29, 2019 Commission Study Session

    September 10, 2019 Commission Study Session

      Meeting schedule and materials

      Related materials

      September 25

      August 21, 2020

      Friday, August 7, 2020

      Friday, July 24, 2020

      July 10, 2020

      Friday, March 6, 2020

      Friday, February 7, 2020

      Friday, January 17, 2020 

      To submit comments and feedback on this topic, please contact Eric Schinfeld, Sr. Manager of Federal Government Relations, at

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