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Port Public-Facing Biometrics Policies

On December 10, 2019, the Port of Seattle Commission established guiding principles for the public-facing use of biometric technology at Port facilities. Port staff, with the help of a Biometrics External Advisory Group, translated those principles into tangible, enforceable policies that govern Port decision-making on this topic. The final Port public-facing biometrics policies are below:

  1. Port Biometrics for Mass Surveillance Policy
  2. Port Biometric Air Exit Policy
  3. Port Biometrics for Law Enforcement and Security Policy
  4. Port Federal Biometrics for Traveler Function Policy
  5. Port Biometrics for Traveler Function by Airlines Policy
  6. Port Biometrics for Traveler Functions by Non-Airline Tenants Policy

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.

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