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TSA expands biometric security screening, anticipates spike in membership


The TSA is expanding TSA Pre, its biometric expedited screening program and the administration is expecting a surge in membership.

The TSA made the announcement Friday, noting that to date, 12 million travelers have used the program, which has so far been deployed at 40 American airports.  Roughly 2 million people travel by plane in the United States each day.

Members of the TSA Pre program can leave shoes, light outerwear and belts on, keep laptops in cases and keep liquids in carry-on luggage. Application for the program requires a background check, fingerprints and $85 for a five-year membership.

“This initiative will increase the number of U.S. citizens eligible to receive expedited screening, through TSA Pre,” John S. Pistole, TSA Administrator said. “TSA Pre enables us to focus on the travelers we know the least about, adding efficiency and effectiveness to the screening process.”

According to the group, “later this year,” citizens can apply online and make a physical visit to an enrollment site to prove identification and give a fingerprint sample.

TSA pat-downs have been the subject of a lot of anger and criticism, but the TSA has projected 88,000 travelers will enroll in the first six months and that number could top 383,000 as the program expands in its first year.

Reported previously, another of TSA’s biometric objectives — the Transportation Worker Identification Program – was recently slammed by Federal auditors, saying that despite a decade of work, the administration had still not developed a reliable system to control port access with biometrics.

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