Washington (June 10, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Security Subcommittee of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s confirmed that a recent data breach exposed images of travelers and vehicles.


“This data breach raises serious concerns about the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to effectively safeguard the sensitive information it is collecting,” said Senator Markey. “It only underscores the urgent need for the Department of Homeland Security to pause its deployment of facial recognition technology until it has instituted enforceable rules prioritizing cybersecurity and protecting travelers’ privacy. Malicious actors’ thirst for information about U.S. identities is unquenchable, and DHS must keep pace with emerging threats. It should starts with formalizing guidelines for exactly who has access to the data DHS collects, how long this data will be maintained, how that information will be safeguarded, and how we can say no to this collection in the first place.”   


In December 2017 and again in May 2018, Senators Markey and Mike Lee (R-Utah) previously raised questions regarding the use of biometric facial recognition software, calling for formal rulemaking from the Department of Homeland Security.