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Rollout of biometric CAT2s begins in Colorado as legacy scanners reject state IDs

Rollout of biometric CAT2s begins in Colorado as legacy scanners reject state IDs

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has installed five of its new credential authentication terminals from Idemia to process travellers with face biometrics at Denver International Airport’s North Security Checkpoint.

The test deployment bring TSA’s CAT2 devices to 16 airports in total, an agency spokesperson told local publication Westword in an email.

Idemia Identity & Security North America won a $128 million contract with TSA earlier this year to deliver its CAT2 ID document and face biometrics scanners to airports across the country.

Westword brings up concerns about the accuracy of facial recognition for people with darker skin and with appearances significantly changed since their ID photos were taken. Those concerns are in part addressed by the testing the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate has carried out with its Biometric Technology Rally. Idemia I&S was matching 99.7 percent of individuals without masks back in 2021, and some but not all systems tested in the 2022 Rally met the threshold met the benchmark set for all skin tones.

A bigger issue for travellers using the automated system may be from Colorado IDs, which are not being accepted by CAT machines, according to The Colorado Sun.

Colorado driver’s licenses and other IDs are made by Thales, and travellers recount situations in which they are repeatedly rejected by first-generation CAT scanners at airports other than Denver International. Issues were reported scanning Colorado licenses both at airports within the state and elsewhere in the U.S.

The TSA says travellers with a valid boarding pass and driver’s license will not be prevented from passing through the checkpoints. The Colorado Department of Revenue, which is responsible for the state’s IDs, says the problem is not on its end.

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