If the Trump administration gets its way, U.S. citizens boarding international flights will have to submit to a face scan, a plan privacy advocates call a step toward a surveillance state.
The Department of Homeland Security says it's the only way to successfully expand a program that tracks nonimmigrant foreigners. They have been required by law since 2004 to submit to biometric identity scans - but to date have only had their fingerprints and photos collected prior to entry.
Now, DHS says it's finally ready to implement face scans on departure - aimed mainly at better tracking visa overstays but also at tightening security.
It says it won't keep the face scans of U.S. citizens, but privacy advocates are skeptical and say Homeland Security is overstepping its authority.
"Congress authorized scans of foreign nationals. DHS heard that and decided to scan everyone. That's not how a democracy is supposed to work," said Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University.