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A facial recognition system at Dulles Airport. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty

The Department of Homeland Security has backtracked on a plan to require every person, including U.S. citizens and green-card holders, to submit to a facial recognition screening before entering or leaving the country.

Why it matters: Facial recognition has emerged as a privacy flashpoint. As some cities pass bans on the technology, the federal government has pushed forward — but this reversal shows the limits of public appetite for its use.

What's happening: Foreign nationals are already photographed at the border to verify their identity. U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been able to opt out of the process — but DHS recently proposed making the screening mandatory for all.

  • Customs and Border Patrol confirmed to TechCrunch Thursday that U.S. citizens will still be allowed to "voluntarily participate in the biometrics entry–exit program."

What they're saying: After the plan to expand facial recogntion was revealed earlier this week in a TechCrunch report, privacy advocates in government and civil society raised an alarm.

  • Sen. Ed Markey (D–Mass.) said in a statement following the reversal: "This is a victory for every single American traveler who flies on a plane, and a reminder that we must remain vigilant protectors of our right to privacy."

What's next: Sens. Chris Coons (D–Del.) and Mike Lee (R–Utah) put forward a bill last month that would require that law enforcement to get a warrant before using facial recognition technology.

Go deeper: China's move on facial recognition standards

Go deeper

24 mins ago - Health

Internal CDC presentation warns: "The war has changed"

Graphic: CDC via The Washington Post

Unpublished research indicates that the Delta variant causes more severe illness and spreads as easily as chickenpox, and that vaccinated people may transmit the strain as easily as those who are unvaccinated, according to an internal CDC presentation obtained by WashPost.

Why it matters: The data played a key role in the CDC's decision to tell vaccinated people to resume masking indoors, with the presentation calling on health officials to "acknowledge the war has changed," The Post reports.

Updated 28 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Women's 5,000 meter heats at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

🎾: Novak Djokovic defeated in Olympic semi-finals

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

🏊‍♀️: South Africa's Tatjana Schoenmaker breaks world record in 200m breaststroke

🏊: Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy wins Silver in 200m

🚣‍♀️: Team USA women's eight rowing fails to reach the podium

💻: Japan tests teleporting games and "remote cheering"

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Exclusive: Lawmakers urge probe into DOJ's alleged racial profiling of Asians

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 100 members of Congress members urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the Justice Department's alleged racial profiling of Asians, according to a letter shared with Axios.

Why it matters: The case of Anming Hu, a scientist who was baselessly targeted in an espionage probe, has renewed scrutiny of the DOJ after an FBI agent admitted to falsely implicating the Chinese Canadian.

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