June 14, 2017 -
The Transportation Security Administration announced on Instagram that it will launch a pilot program this week for new biometric checkpoint screening technology at a TSA PreP lane at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and at Denver International Airport.
The transportation agency is conducting a proof of concept demonstration to assess the operational and security effects of using fingerprint recognition to verify the identities of passengers.
Through the biometric authentication technology, travelers are able to use their fingerprints as both a boarding pass and identity document, and match them to the fingerprints that they previously provided when they enrolled in the TSA PreP application program.
Upon finding a fingerprint match, the technology is able to obtain the passenger’s boarding pass information through Secure Flight.
Participation in the program is completely voluntary and all passengers who participate will then be subject to the standard ticket document checking process of displaying their boarding pass and identification document.
“TSA looks at technologies and intelligence capabilities that allow us to analyze and secure the travel environment, passengers and their property,” said TSA acting assistant administrator Steve Karoly of the Office of Requirements and Capabilities Analysis. “Through these and other technology demonstrations, we are looking to reinvent and enhance security effectiveness to meet the evolving threat and ensure that passengers get to their destinations safely.”
On a long term basis, the fingerprint technology could potentially automate the travel document checking process by eliminating the need for a boarding pass and identity document, and either grant or deny traveler access into the boarding area through an electronic gate.
During the data collection process, passengers using the TSA Precheck lanes have the option to present their fingerprints on a contact or contactless fingerprint scanning BAT unit.
Those TSA Precheck passengers who have not provided fingerprints to TSA through the TSA PreP application program will also be invited to use the system since it provides important information to TSA during the proof of concept.
TSA said they will analyze the data collected during the pilot for potential implementation at other airports throughout the country.
Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration announced that 11 new participating domestic and foreign airlines have joined the PreCheck program, bringing the total number of participating airlines to 30.