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TSA tests Idemia’s biometric self-service checkpoint at DCA

TSA tests Idemia’s biometric self-service checkpoint at DCA

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing out a contactless facial biometrics self-service checkpoint system from Idemia at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to automatically match live traveler photos with those on their IDs, the agency announced.

The measure is part of the COVID-19 relief measures to ensure social distancing between officers and travelers.

“In light of COVID-19, advanced health and safety precautions have become a top priority and part of the new normal for TSA,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a prepared statement. “As a result, we are exploring rapid testing and deployment of this touchless, self-service technology. At the conclusion of the pilot, we expect to be able to determine how positioning the new technology will allow passengers to use it themselves thereby providing a safer checkpoint experience, while adding significant security benefits.”

In September 2019, the credential authentication technology was tested for 30 days at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas with volunteer TSA PreCheck passengers.

Passengers going through DCA can choose to be part of the pilot project. Instead of having physical interaction with a TSA officer, they can directly register their ID information with the scanner for authentication. To verify identity, the device takes a photo and compares it with the ID. The system will provide the TSA office with face matching results, ID authentication, and flight information. Acrylic shields are also installed to prevent contact.

The technology supports thousands of document types, such as U.S. driver’s licenses, photo IDs, passports, visas, permanent resident cards, military IDs and Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards.

Traveler photos are only used for identity verification and are not saved for later use. People can opt out of having their photo taken, but IDs will have to be scanned through the system.

In July, the TSA introduced five credential authentication technology (CAT) units for checkpoint screening to confirm traveler ID and flight information at Richmond International Airport (RIC) in Virginia.

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