U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced that a database of facial recognition and license plate images—captured and stored for travelers entering the country—has been breached.
The Washington Post reports:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Monday that photos of travelers had been compromised as part of a “malicious cyber-attack,” raising concerns over how federal officials’ expanding surveillance efforts could imperil Americans’ privacy.
Customs officials said in a statement Monday that the images, which included photos of people’s license plates, had been compromised as part of an attack on a federal subcontractor.
The agency maintains a database including passport and visa photos that is used at airports as part of an agency facial-recognition program. CBP declined to say what images were stolen or how many people were affected.
But CBP makes extensive use of cameras and video recordings at the arrival halls of international airports as well as land border crossings, where vehicle license plates are also captured.