TSA chief wants to implement biometric recognition at passenger checkpoints

November 5, 2015 - 

Newly-appointed Transportation Security Agency chief Peter Neffenger testified before a House Oversight subcommittee on Tuesday, in which he said he hopes to see “a day where the checkpoint looks very different from what it does today,” according to a report by CNSNews.com.

Neffenger said that with the exception of the full-body scanners, the TSA is “still largely dealing with …the same kind of checkpoint we’ve had for the past decade or more. And I think we’re on the cusp of a very different looking checkpoint experience in the next five years.”

His testimony did not provide any specifics regarding the new checkpoint experience, however, he did provide a few details in a written statement to the committee:

In the statement, Neffenger discussed the implementation of biometric technologies, such as fingerprint scans upgrades, to verify the identities and destinations of passengers.

He also emphasized a goal to significantly increase the number of fully vetted passengers who are members of TSA Pre-Check or other “trusted travelers” programs which would allow the TSA to distinguish between “known and unknown travelers.

Neffenger said that he would also like to see the addition of machines that “screen at the speed of life,” using a system that combines metal detection, non-metallic anomaly detection, shoe x-ray, and explosive vapor detection, adding that there are already prototypes of such machines.

The Homeland Security Department’s inspector general released a report earlier this year which uncovered a series of major failures and lapses in the TSA’s ability to conduct nearly all of its functions, including passenger and baggage screening.

Previously reported, the Transportation Security Administration has released an aggressive five-year strategy that includes a potential expansion of the use of biometrics, among other things, to create the “airport of the future”.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.