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TSA to stand up airport digital ID app as aviation sector deploys biometrics and temperature checks



New apps and solutions utilizing biometrics to facilitate safe air travel continue to be launched and implemented, and the TSA is planning to stand up a new digital identity app. Airports in Canada and Hawaii are launching temperature checks, while One ID has been implemented at a Guangzhou airport. SITA has launched a paper on how to implement biometrics in airports, while Edison Software Development Centre has launched a training and monitoring system with biometrics for customs officers, and Airside has announced a successful fundraising round.

The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a method of identity verification as an alternative to biometrics and physical credentials. This means a digital identity system, or what TSA calls a “digital services application,” which is likely to involve biometrics as a means of confirming the individual’s identity to the system (rather than directly to TSA).

The TSA encounters more than 2.5 million travelers each day on average, and roughly 600 are found to be without acceptable ID, according to the RFI.

Any solution requires a two-step process, including both confirmation that the passenger’s biographic data is legitimate and that the individual presenting the data is the data owner. The RFI specifies that any system chosen will also have to include capabilities for capturing biographic data without the use of a machine-readable zone (MRZ) or optical character recognition (OCR) scan of an ID document, and must allow manual data entry through an app or website. It must be able to process thousands of transactions, every hour of every day, including payment transactions, and operate from passengers’ mobile devices.

The application must also be able to confirm identity information from multiple unique sources, and detect spoofing or SIM-swapping. Critically, an authentication or verification service to provide trust that the biographic data belongs to the person holding the digital credential, the RFI says, which is typically performed with a biometric process leveraging a device sensor or camera.

Risk assessment models or algorithms, “fuzzy” matching to name fields (such as for shortened names and middle initials), with strong privacy protections and an identity verification process that takes less than five minutes in total.

TSA also asks nine specific questions of industry participants in the RFI.

Touchless technologies implemented in Canada, Hawaii, and China

Canada’s busiest airports are implementing temperature scanning, run by Transport Canada, beginning with international airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, Global News reports.

FLIR thermal scanning cameras are shown deployed to one of the airports, and will be used to scan passengers, with those registering a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius held for a second check. Passengers are asked to remove their glasses, indicating that temperature is scanned at the corner of the eye.

After two positive scans for a fever, passengers will be denied entry to the secure area. Allowances are made for people who have doctor’s certificates explaining another reason for registering a higher temperature, and those who wish to be screened in private. Temperature data is not stored, according to the report.

The system will soon be expanded to 11 other airports. Aviation and airport employees entering restricted areas will also be screened.

Airports in Hawaii likewise are now using temperature screening equipment provided by NEC and Infrared Cameras, with the system now in operation at five airports, according to Airport Technology. The first phase of the deployment, installing the cameras at gates for transpacific flights, has been completed, and Hawaii National Guard members and state Department of Transportation (HDOT) employees have been training in their use.

In the second phase, the cameras will be deployed to all remaining gates, with biometric facial recognition coming online in phase 3, which is expected to be finished by the end of 2020.

Facial recognition has been launched at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in south China’s Guangdong Province for passengers on domestic flights, Xinhua reports, based on the One ID system developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the World Bank’s ID4D initiative.

Passengers will be able to use contactless face biometrics for self-service check-in, luggage check-in, security check and flight boarding processes.

The civil aviation sector ticked up by just over 14 percent from May to June, according to Xinhua.

SITA produces paper on biometric enablement

SITA has launched a paper on ‘Enabling the Low-Touch Airport’ to help stakeholders understand how to put smart devices and biometrics in place at all airport touchpoints to enable faster, safer experiences with less contact with shared surfaces.

The company pitches its SITA Flex technology for mobile-enabled common use of IT systems and SITA Path for contactless biometric enablement in the course of the 8-page paper, describing the next generation of touchpoints and procedures as a configurable collection of biometric kiosks, gates, and self-service processes.

Edison develops biometric customs officer training software

Edison Software Development Centre has developed a software that uses biometric facial recognition and eye recognition technology to help train and monitor customs officers.

The Electronic Eye Recognition Software is intended to help customs officers perform effectively in the context of increased workloads. The system’s capabilities include detecting the operator’s presence of absence, identifying and tracking facial position, which was the operator is facing, how often the operator’s eyes are closed or pupils are motionless, and creating statistical reports on operator performance. When an operator is not working appropriately, an administrator can be alerted by the system.

Airside raises $13M

Airside Mobile has raised $13 million in an investment round led by Bain Capital Ventures to grow its digital identity solutions for the travel industry and other sectors, Skift reports.

The company’s platform currently allows U.S. residents and Canadian visitors to America to pass through customs with a mobile passport app, which has been used 8 million times in 30 airports. Airside also recently received a strategic investment from Amadeus to expand the use of biometrics in air travel.

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