Washington Dulles Airport Touts Facial-Recognition Camera ID of Congolese Man

A man with a Congolese ID hidden in his shoe tried to use a French passport to enter the US via Brazil. Dulles airport facial-recognition cameras are being credited with noticing the passport didn’t match his true identity.

This story also comes with claims from US Customs that they believe their system has a “99% accuracy rating”, without any evidence or explanation. This reminds me of the old song

Put on mustache glasses for a lark
and I’ll think that you’re Groucho Marx
Thought Kathie Lee was Busta-Rhymes
and I spotted Elvis fifty times


Can’t tell gender, not at all
exploded when I saw RuPaul
Though, even I am at a loss
how I confused Al Roker with Kate Moss

But seriously, Customs saying they believe their system is operating at 99% is not how news is supposed to be reported. Let’s see the numbers, please. Actual investigative reporting doesn’t let a public agency toss out a confidence levels without also supplying evidence and validation, let alone regulation:

During the UEFA Champions League Final week in Wales last June, when the facial recognition cameras were used for the first time, there were 2,470 alerts of possible matches from the automated system. Of these 2,297 turned out to be false positives and 173 were correctly identified – 92 per cent of matches were incorrect.

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