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A few bars are being raised in the U.S. for mDL authentication

A few bars are being raised in the U.S. for mDL authentication

An expansive, new round of testing for upgraded credential authentication technology in the United States has begun. The program could result in biometric system deployments a year from now.

The Transportation Security Administration wants to add biometric facial-comparison functions to the 2,000 credential-authentication systems deployed this year in hundreds of U.S. airports.

The focus of the new effort is on testing 122 credential authenticators with cameras, a program called CAT 2. The systems will be able to switch between one-to-one and one-to-many facial comparisons.

Ultimately, the TSA wants to be able to work with digital ID carried on portable devices.

A recent workshop held by the Secure Technology Alliance boasted that adoption of mobile driving licenses (mDLs) tripled over the course of this year with at least one critical standardization milestone completed in September.

The CAT 2 devices, powered by Idemia, underwent developmental tests before going on to operational evaluation, according to a TSA document updated last August and reprinted by Government Attic.

Airport checkpoint personnel verify a credential’s authenticity and that the document, which typically is a driving license, is held by its rightful owner. They also cross-check the document holder with airline ticket data to be sure the person in question has a reason to be on airport property.

A biometric function, like facial comparison, is expected to make this process faster and less prone to error.

The TSA sees multiple scenarios for the system.

The first is interesting in that identities would be checked against a “relatively small gallery of images” of all consenting travelers in the national PreCheck ID authentication program who are scheduled to fly that day.

It could also be used with “general travelers” using one-to-one verification techniques. Physical ID documents would be submitted to CAT-2 hardware. A photo taken at the checkpoint would be contrasted with the document’s photograph.

On the state level, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators is working on its digital trust service, designed to engender trust in mDL verification processes.

This is happening as the organization plans to update its mDL implementation guidelines, which will buttress new ISO standards.

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