IBM says U.S. should adopt new export controls on facial recognition systems By Reuters

© Reuters. A man wearing a protective mask walks past an office building with IBM logo amidst the easing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Sydney


By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – IBM Corp (N:) said on Friday the U.S. Commerce Department should adopt new controls to limit the export of facial recognition systems to repressive regimes that can be used to commit human rights violations.

The company said in a statement the United States should institute new export limits on “the type of facial recognition system most likely to be used in mass surveillance systems, racial profiling or other human rights violations.”

In July, the Commerce Department had sought public comments on whether to adopt new export license requirements for facial recognition software and other biometric systems used in surveillance. Comments are due by Sept. 15.

Christopher Padilla, IBM’s vice president for government and regulatory affairs, told Reuters the U.S. government should focus on “one to many” systems that could be used to pick dissidents out of a crowd or for mass surveillance, rather than “facial identification” systems that allow a user to unlock an iPhone or board an airplane.

IBM said the Commerce Department should control “export of both the high-resolution cameras used to collect data and the software algorithms used to analyze and match that data against a database of images” and argued it should “limit the ability of certain foreign governments to obtain the large-scale computing components required to implement an integrated facial recognition system.”

The company’s written comments did not identify specific governments but said “controls on the most powerful types of facial recognition technology should be focused on those countries that have a history of human rights abuses.”

The Commerce Department’s July notice said China “has deployed facial recognition technology in the Xinjiang region, in which there has been repression, mass arbitrary detention and high technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups.”

The department has added dozens of Chinese companies and entities to an economic blacklist that it said were implicated in human rights violations regarding China’s treatment of Uighurs, including video surveillance firm Hikvision (SZ:), as well as leaders in facial recognition technology SenseTime Group Ltd and Megvii Technology.

China has denied mistreating people in Xinjiang.

IBM said the Commerce Department should also restrict access to online image databases that can be used to train facial recognition systems.

In June, IBM told the U.S. Congress it would stop offering facial recognition software and opposes any use of such technology for purposes of mass surveillance and racial profiling. The company also called for new federal rules to hold police more accountable for misconduct.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Original source link

Rite Aid deployed facial recognition systems in hundreds of U.S. stores By Reuters

© Reuters. Tristan Jackson-Stankunas poses for a portrait at his apartment in Austinu000d


By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) – Over about eight years, the American drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp (N:) quietly added facial recognition systems to 200 stores across the United States, in one of the largest rollouts of such technology among retailers in the country, a Reuters investigation found.

In the hearts of New York and metro Los Angeles, Rite Aid deployed the technology in largely lower-income, non-white neighborhoods, according to a Reuters analysis. And for more than a year, the retailer used state-of-the-art facial recognition technology from a company with links to China and its authoritarian government.

In telephone and email exchanges with Reuters since February, Rite Aid confirmed the existence and breadth of its facial recognition program. The retailer defended the technology’s use, saying it had nothing to do with race and was intended to deter theft and protect staff and customers from violence. Reuters found no evidence that Rite Aid’s data was sent to China.

Last week, however, after Reuters sent its findings to the retailer, Rite Aid said it had quit using its facial recognition software. It later said all the cameras had been turned off.

“This decision was in part based on a larger industry conversation,” the company told Reuters in a statement, adding that “other large technology companies seem to be scaling back or rethinking their efforts around facial recognition given increasing uncertainty around the technology’s utility.”

Reuters pieced together how the company’s initiative evolved, how the software has been used and how a recent vendor was linked to China, drawing on thousands of pages of internal documents from Rite Aid and its suppliers, as well as direct observations during store visits by Reuters journalists and interviews with more than 40 people familiar with the systems’ deployment. Most current and former employees spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they feared jeopardizing their careers.

While Rite Aid declined to disclose which locations used the technology, Reuters found facial recognition cameras at 33 of the 75 Rite Aid shops in Manhattan and the central Los Angeles metropolitan area during one or more visits from October through July.

The cameras were easily recognizable, hanging from the ceiling on poles near store entrances and in cosmetics aisles. Most were about half a foot long, rectangular and labeled either by their model, “iHD23,” or by a serial number including the vendor’s initials, “DC.” In a few stores, security personnel – known as loss prevention or asset protection agents – showed Reuters how they worked.

The cameras matched facial images of customers entering a store to those of people Rite Aid previously observed engaging in potential criminal activity, causing an alert to be sent to security agents’ smartphones. Agents then reviewed the match for accuracy and could tell the customer to leave.

Rite Aid told Reuters in a February statement that customers had been apprised of the technology through “signage” at the shops, as well as in a written policy posted this year on its website. Reporters found no notice of the surveillance in more than a third of the stores they visited with the facial recognition cameras.

Among the 75 stores Reuters visited, those in areas that were poorer or less white were much more likely to have the equipment, the news agency’s statistical analysis found.

Stores in more impoverished areas were nearly three times as likely as those in richer areas to have facial recognition cameras. Seventeen of 25 stores in poorer areas had the systems. In wealthier areas, it was 10 of 40. (Ten of the stores were in areas whose wealth status was not clear. Six of those stores had the equipment.)

In areas where people of color, including Black or Latino residents, made up the largest racial or ethnic group, Reuters found that stores were more than three times as likely to have the technology.

Reuters’ findings illustrate “the dire need for a national conversation about privacy, consumer education, transparency, and the need to safeguard the Constitutional rights of Americans,” said Carolyn Maloney, the Democratic chairwoman of the House oversight committee, which has held hearings on the use of facial recognition technology.

Rite Aid said the rollout was “data-driven,” based on stores’ theft histories, local and national crime data and site infrastructure.

Cathy Langley, Rite Aid’s vice president of asset protection, said earlier this year that facial recognition – which she referred to as “feature matching” – resulted in less violence and organized crime in the company’s stores. Last week, however, Rite Aid said its new leadership team was reviewing practices across the company, and “this was one of a number of programs that was terminated.”


Facial recognition technology has become highly controversial in the United States as its use has expanded in both the public and private sectors, including by law enforcement and retailers. Civil liberties advocates warn it can lead to harassment of innocent individuals, arbitrary and discriminatory arrests, infringements of privacy rights and chilled personal expression.

Adding to these concerns, recent research by a U.S. government institute showed that algorithms that underpin the technology erred more often when subjects had darker skin tones.

Facial recognition systems are largely unregulated in the United States, despite disclosure or consent requirements, or limits on government use, in several states, including California, Washington, Texas and Illinois. Some cities, including San Francisco, ban municipal officials from using them. In general, the technology makes photos and videos more readily searchable, allowing retailers almost instantaneous facial comparisons within and across stores.

Among the systems used by Rite Aid was one from DeepCam LLC, which worked with a firm in China whose largest outside investor is a Chinese government fund. Some security experts said any program with connections to China was troubling because it could open the door to aggressive surveillance in the United States more typical of an autocratic state.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and acting chair of the U.S. Senate’s intelligence committee, told Reuters in a statement that the Rite Aid system’s potential link to China was “outrageous.” “The Chinese Communist Party’s buildup of its Orwellian surveillance state is alarming, and China’s efforts to export its surveillance state to collect data in America would be an unacceptable, serious threat,” he said.

The security specialists expressed concern that information gathered by a China-linked company could ultimately land in that government’s hands, helping Beijing to refine its facial recognition technology globally and monitor people in ways that violate American standards of privacy.

“If it goes back to China, there are no rules,” said James Lewis, the Technology Policy Program director at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Asked for comment, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “These are unfounded smears and rumors.”


Rite Aid, afflicted with financial losses in recent years, is not the only retailer to adopt or explore facial recognition technology.

Two years ago, the Loss Prevention Research Council, a coalition founded by retailers to test anti-crime techniques, called facial recognition “a promising new tool” worthy of evaluation.

“There are a handful of retailers that have made the decision, ‘Look, we need to leverage tech to sell more and lose less,” said council director Read Hayes. Rite Aid’s program was one of the largest, if not the largest, in retail, Hayes said. The Camp Hill, Pennsylvania-based company operates about 2,400 stores around the country.

The Home Depot Inc (N:) said it had been testing facial recognition to reduce shoplifting in at least one of its stores but stopped the trial this year. A smaller rival, Menards, piloted systems in at least 10 locations as of early 2019, a person familiar with that effort said.

Walmart Inc (N:) has also tried out facial recognition in a handful of stores, said two sources with knowledge of the tests. Walmart and Menards had no comment.

Using facial recognition to approach people who previously have committed “dishonest acts” in a store before they do so again is less dangerous for staff, said Rite Aid’s former vice president of asset protection, Bob Oberosler, who made the decision to deploy an early facial recognition system at Rite Aid. That way, “there was significantly less need for law enforcement involvement,” he said.


In interviews, 10 current and former Rite Aid loss prevention agents told Reuters that the system they initially used in stores was from a company called FaceFirst, which has been backed by U.S. investment firms.

It regularly misidentified people, all 10 of them said.

“It doesn’t pick up Black people well,” one loss prevention staffer said last year while using FaceFirst at a Rite Aid in an African-American neighborhood of Detroit. “If your eyes are the same way, or if you’re wearing your headband like another person is wearing a headband, you’re going to get a hit.”

FaceFirst’s chief executive, Peter Trepp, said facial recognition generally works well irrespective of skin tone, an issue he said the industry addressed years ago. He declined to talk about Rite Aid, saying he would not discuss any possible clients.

Rite Aid originally piloted FaceFirst at its store on West 3rd Street and South Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, a largely Asian and Latino neighborhood, around 2012.

Of the 65 stores the retailer targeted in its first big rollout, 52 were in areas where the largest group was Black or Latino, according to Reuters’ analysis of a Rite Aid planning document from 2013 that was read aloud to a reporter by someone with access to it. Reuters confirmed that some of these stores later deployed the technology but did not confirm its presence at every location on the list.

Separately, two former Rite Aid managers and a third source familiar with the FaceFirst rollout said the systems were concentrated, respectively, in the “tougher,” “toughest” or “worst” areas.

Reuters reviewed a 2016 spreadsheet from the company’s asset protection unit in which Rite Aid rated 20 higher-earning Manhattan stores as having equal risk of loss – labeled “MedHigh.” Two of 10 stores where whites were the largest racial group had facial recognition technology when Reuters visited this year, whereas eight of the 10 in non-white areas had the systems.

One spot ranked “MedHigh” was a store at 741 Columbus Avenue in New York’s whiter, wealthier Upper West Side. Another was the pharmacy’s West 125th Street store in nearby Harlem, a majority African-American neighborhood. The Harlem store got facial recognition technology; the Upper West Side one did not, as of July 9.

(See graphics here and here and here


Starting in 2013, as Rite Aid deployed FaceFirst’s technology in Philadelphia, Baltimore and beyond, some serious drawbacks emerged, current and former security agents and managers told Reuters.

For instance, the system would “generate 500 hits in an hour all across the United States” when photos in the system were blurry or taken at an odd angle, one of the people familiar with FaceFirst’s operations said.

FaceFirst’s Trepp said the company has high accuracy rates while running “over 12 trillion comparisons per day without any known complaints to date.”

During that earlier period, Tristan Jackson-Stankunas said Rite Aid wrongly fingered him as a shoplifter in a Los Angeles store based on someone else’s photo. While Reuters could not confirm the method Rite Aid used to identify him, the store had FaceFirst technology by that time, according to a Rite Aid security agent and a Foursquare review photo showing the camera.

According to a complaint Jackson-Stankunas filed with the California Department of Consumer Affairs a week after the incident, he was looking for air freshener in September 2016 when a manager ordered him to leave the store. The manager said he had received a security image of Jackson-Stankunas taken at another Rite Aid in 2013 from which he allegedly had stolen goods, according to the complaint.

When Jackson-Stankunas viewed the photo on the manager’s phone, he told Reuters, he saw nothing in common with the person except their race: Both are Black.

“The guy looks nothing like me,” said Jackson-Stankunas, 34, who ultimately was allowed to make his purchase and leave the store. Rite Aid “only identified me because I was a person of color. That’s it.”

The California department told him his complaint fell outside its purview, directing him to another state office, email records show. Instead, he said he decided to write the store a bad review on Yelp (NYSE:).

Rite Aid and the manager who allegedly was involved declined to comment on Jackson-Stankunas’ account.

At one store Reuters visited, a security agent scrolled through FaceFirst “alerts” showing a number of cases in which faces were obviously mismatched, including a Black man mixed up with someone who was Asian. Reuters could not determine whether the incorrect matches resulted in confrontations with customers.

FaceFirst CEO Trepp said that his company takes racial bias seriously and would not work with any business that disregarded civil rights. “We cannot stand for racial injustice of any kind, including in our technology,” he said.

Generally, Trepp said, Reuters’ findings about his company contained “extensive factual inaccuracies” and are “not based upon information from credible sources.”


Early in 2018, Rite Aid began installing technology from DeepCam LLC, ultimately phasing out FaceFirst in stores around the country, interviews with Rite Aid loss prevention agents and internal vendor documents indicate.

Six security staffers who used both systems said DeepCam’s matches were more accurate – sometimes to a fault. The technology picked up faces from ads on buses or pictures on T-shirts, three said. One famous face captured in DeepCam was Marilyn Monroe’s, one of the agents said.

At least until 2017, FaceFirst had employed an older method of biometric identification that compared maps of subjects’ faces, two people familiar with its system said. Only later did it move over to software based on “artificial intelligence” like DeepCam’s. Though the data and algorithms differ by brand, these systems draw upon potentially millions of samples to “learn” how to match faces.

DeepCam cameras photographed and took live video of every person entering a Rite Aid store, aiming to create a unique facial profile, Rite Aid agents said. If the customer walked in front of another DeepCam facial recognition camera at a Rite Aid shop, new images were added to the person’s existing profile. Two agents said they lost access to the images after 10 days unless the person landed on a watch list based on their behavior in stores.

When agents saw someone commit a crime – or just do something suspicious, one said – they scrolled through profiles on their smartphone to search for the individual, only adding the person to the watch list with a manager’s approval. The next time the shopper walked into a Rite Aid that had the technology, agents received a phone alert and checked the match for accuracy. Then they could order the person to leave, agents told Reuters.

Rite Aid said adding customers to the watch list was based on “multiple layers of meaningful human review.” The company told Reuters its procedures ensured customers were not confronted unnecessarily.

If a person was found to be engaging in criminal behavior, Rite Aid said, “we retain the data as a matter of policy to cooperate in pending or potential criminal investigations.”

Other U.S. retail stores have tried DeepCam. Independent 7-Eleven franchise owners in Virginia told Reuters they conducted trials of the software starting in 2018 and later dropped it. They said they largely found the system accurate but not user friendly and too expensive to maintain. The system was advertised online as costing $99 a month.

7-Eleven Inc did not answer requests for comment.


The two founding owners of U.S.-based DeepCam LLC were Don Knasel and Jingfeng Liu, who set up the firm in Longmont, Colorado, in 2017, state records show. Liu’s residential address in Longmont was listed as its headquarters.

A Chinese native with U.S. citizenship and a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, Liu had the skills to do business in both the United States and China.

According to China’s official business registration records, he is chairman of another facial recognition firm in China called Shenzhen Shenmu Information Technology Co Ltd, whose website is

For a time, the U.S.-based DeepCam LLC and Shenzhen Shenmu were closely connected: In addition to Liu’s role in both companies, they shared the same website and email accounts, according to internal records seen by Reuters.

Internal correspondence reviewed by Reuters suggests that DeepCam reached a deal with Rite Aid by March 2018, when a colleague emailed Knasel to congratulate him. Internal records also indicated that China-based Shenzhen Shenmu helped its American counterpart with product development and that Liu was expected to pay at least some of the bills. That same month, a U.S. executive wrote: “Hi Jingfeng- Thanks for the credit card. Here is the receipt for the Indianapolis Trade Show.”

In an interview, Liu confirmed the financing, saying of Knasel: “Whenever he needed money, I give him some money.” Liu said Knasel told him about the Rite Aid project but left him in the dark about the business. Knasel “never let data cross between the two countries,” Liu said.

As the Rite Aid rollout proceeded in 2018, correspondence among DeepCam staff, seen by Reuters, expressed concerns about publicly revealing any links to China, as well as using the term “facial recognition” in the U.S. market for fear of attracting the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Days after the ACLU wrote a March 2018 blog post critical of retailers’ suspected use of the technology, including Rite Aid’s, Knasel emailed staff: “It looks like the ACLU may be starting to stick its head up….We need to tone down facial recognition, which I have tried to do….If they come after us, we are dead….so we have to avoid.” The punctuation in the message is Knasel’s.

Today, both Liu and Knasel say no ties exist between the U.S. and Chinese businesses.

“We never do any business in USA,” Liu wrote in a brief email to Reuters in March. “We focus in China market.”

More recently, in an interview and an email, Liu said he had not spoken with Knasel for more than a year and, to his disappointment, had not benefited from the U.S. venture.

In a statement to Reuters, Knasel sought to distance himself from Liu, Shenzhen Shenmu and DeepCam.

He did not address questions about DeepCam’s deal with Rite Aid. DeepCam, he said, is “winding up” its operations and now has no assets. He added that DeepCam never supplied China-based Shenzhen Shenmu with any data.

In February, Rite Aid told Reuters that DeepCam had been “re-branded” as pdActive. PdActive is a facial recognition company run by Knasel, who said it is not a rebranding of DeepCam but a different company that has no owners who are Chinese citizens.

Knasel remained connected to DeepCam through another company he runs, dcAnalytics, which Knasel said licensed DeepCam’s technology until November 2019. Since then, Knasel said, U.S.-based dcAnalytics has been using “proprietary” technology, as well as facial recognition cameras purchased from DeepCam.

Knasel said dcAnalytics is “committed to upholding the highest standards possible to make sure facial recognition technology is used fairly, properly and responsibly.”


Steve Dickinson, a Seattle attorney who practiced law in China for more than a decade and writes about cybersecurity, said geopolitical tensions have added sensitivity to any work Chinese surveillance firms do in the United States.

Last year, the U.S. government blacklisted several Chinese companies – including Hikvision (SZ:), one of the biggest surveillance camera manufacturers globally – alleging involvement in human rights abuses. China has deployed facial recognition cameras widely within its borders, providing a level of monitoring unfathomable to many Americans.

At the time, a U.S. Hikvision spokesman said the firm “strongly opposes” the decision and that punishing Hikvision would harm its U.S. business partners and discourage global companies from communicating with the U.S. government.

Liu described his company as nothing like the Chinese video surveillance giants. With about 20 employees, he said, it is “a tiny company pretending to be big,” struggling unsuccessfully to get government contracts and nearly bankrupt.

Reuters found that he and his company have financial and other ties to the Chinese government, however.

Most notably, Shenzhen Shenmu’s largest outside investor, holding about 20% of its registered capital, is a strategic fund set up by the government of China. Called the SME Development Fund (Shenzhen Limited Partnership), it has built a 6 million yuan ($855,000) stake in Shenzhen Shenmu since early 2018, Chinese public business records show.

A person with the same name as a Shenzhen Shenmu board director has also worked for the venture firm managing the SME fund, according to the records and the investment firm’s website.

The fund acknowledged investing in Shenzhen Shenmu and said it “does not participate in the daily operation and management of the enterprise.”

Liu is a member of China’s Thousand Talents program, according to a local government website. That program was started by Beijing as a way to bring top academics working in important fields abroad back to China. According to allegations by the U.S. Justice Department, the program aimed to steal foreign technology.

In a statement, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs described such allegations as false and as “stigmatization” by the United States.

Liu told Reuters he tried to get into the program but does not know if he is. The achievement was reported in an article on Shenzhen Shenmu’s website, but Liu said he only wanted to use the distinction to help him sell products. Reuters was unable to confirm with China’s government whether Liu was a member.

Another website, that of a Shenzhen Shenmu subsidiary, Magicision, claims its technology has helped officials arrest fugitives and suspected criminals in China.

Liu was vague about the firm’s public security work, saying his company has tried unsuccessfully to get contracts with Chinese law enforcement. He called the website’s information “bullshit marketing.”

About the Chinese government’s interest in his company’s data, however, he was clear.

“The China government never care about us,” he said. “We are too small.”

“I know (the) China threat is a hot, eyeball-attractive topic. But what you have in mind is totally untrue.”

Original source link

IBM, Amazon moves on facial recognition are good baby steps toward removing bias

In the midst of huge crisis in the U.S. around police mistreatment of black Americans, two tech giants have said they will halt the sale of controversial facial-recognition software, which has been called out by privacy groups as contributing to racial profiling and ineffective most of the time.

On Monday, IBM Corp.’s

new Chief Executive Arvind Krishna said the company is exiting the facial-recognition business, saying in a letter to Congress: “IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial-recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and principles of trust and transparency.” Inc.

took a slightly different tack, saying Wednesday that it is implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of its Rekognition technology, but that it would still allow organizations focused on stopping human trafficking to continue to use the technology.

Facial-recognition software can be used to help identify people in photos, videos or in real time, and has been increasingly used by law enforcement agencies. But according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit focused on digital privacy rights, “facial-recognition software is particularly bad at recognizing African Americans and other ethnic minorities, women, and young people, often misidentifying or failing to identify them, disparately impacting certain groups.”

According to ProPrivacy, a U.K.-based company that develops virtual private network tools, facial-recognition algorithms used by the police in various parts of the world have been shown to be inaccurate 81% of the time. “These percentages jump even higher when dealing with non-Caucasian faces,” said Ray Walsh, digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy, in a statement.

Facial recognition, which can lead to racial profiling by the police, has been seen as problematic technology even before the protests that have swept the nation following the death of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police. A bill was introduced in the Senate last year seeking to establish guidelines and set boundaries for facial recognition, but it has languished in the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

As tech companies hear their employees demand change — such as the request this week by Microsoft Corp.

employees that the company no longer sell its products to the Seattle Police Department and other law enforcement agencies — now is the time to examine how their products are designed with bias, even if it may be unintentional bias.

IBM’s CEO said he believes that now is the time to “begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial-recognition technology should be employed by domestic law-enforcement agencies.” It is also time to begin a national dialogue around bias in tech products in general, a vast topic for sure, but one that needs to be addressed before there can be any hope of change.

Original source link

American Airlines, Delta to require facial coverings on U.S. flights By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Delta Air Lines passenger planes parked in Birmingham

By David Shepardson and Tracy Rucinski

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two of the largest U.S. airlines said Thursday they will require passengers to wear facial coverings on U.S. flights, joining JetBlue Airways Corp (O:) in taking the step to address the spread of the coronavirus.

Delta Air Lines Inc (N:) and American Airlines Group Inc (O:), along with the smaller Frontier Airlines, which is owned by private equity firm Indigo Partners LLC, announced they will require facial coverings.

Delta’s new rules start May 4, while Frontier’s start May 8 and American’s requirements begin May 11. The policies exempt young children from wearing masks or other facial coverings.

Other airlines like United Airlines (O:) are providing masks to travelers, but not requiring their use.

Many U.S. airlines are also requiring pilots and flight attendants to use facial coverings while on board aircraft.

Airlines in the United States have seen a nearly 95% drop in U.S. passengers and are working to reassure customers about the safety of air travel by instituting new cleaning and social distancing procedures.

Some airline unions and U.S. lawmakers have urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to require facial coverings for all passengers and crew.

The FAA has declined to do so, and it is not clear if the agency has the authority to compel people to wear face masks. The agency said Wednesday it is “working with air carriers to ensure they have processes in place for addressing public health risks for their crews and passengers.”

Representative Peter DeFazio, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, called on the FAA to “require masks or other face coverings for all crewmembers and passengers on U.S. flights” and to require airlines “adopt reasonable, sound procedures for ensuring that passengers are spaced at safe distances from one another.”

Delta said the airline will require face coverings “starting in the check-in lobby” and at “Delta Sky Clubs, boarding gate areas, jet bridges and on board the aircraft for the duration of the flight – except during meal service.”

Delta added their use “is also strongly encouraged in high-traffic areas, including security lines and restrooms. People unable to keep a face covering in place, including children, are exempt.”

American said the rules will prioritize “customer and team member well-being.”

German airline group Lufthansa (DE:) also said this week it would require facial coverings for all passengers starting May 4.

Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants union, said “absent federal action, we need every airline to require passengers wear face coverings to keep everyone safe in aviation.”

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Original source link