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It’s not like lightning, but US expanding digital ID systems for travelers

It’s not like lightning, but US expanding digital ID systems for travelers

Half of the 2024 operational commitments made by the U.S.’ top transportation security agency involve digital identity.

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration have published their four-part action plan for the year. It includes expanding its mobile driver’s license pilot and the use of facial recognition in airports.

They say they will increase from seven to nine the number of states participating in a pilot program designed to test the use of mobile driver’s licenses and digital IDs at TSA stations. In May, the TSA reportedly said it was assessing 25 domestic airports for digital license and ID use.

As part of this expansion, according to the TSA, the agency will add a sixth platform to the existing five (one of which is mobile devices) that travelers can use for digital identification. No details on these expansions were part of the announcement.

The second digital-ID commitment is a promise to double the number of airport locations that deploy facial identification systems as part of the TSA’s PreCheck service, a threat-vetting program through which subscribing travelers can skirt long security lines.

There were five locations last year and the government wants to open another five this year. It also intends to expand the number of airlines participating in PreCheck from two to three.

The objectives hew fairly closely to a biometrics strategy document published in 2018.

Then, officials wanted to expand biometric systems use among more passengers and develop infrastructure for the systems. The new document does not directly address their intention in 2018 to partner with the Customs and Border Protection agency on biometrics for international travelers.

At that time, PreCheck relied solely on fingerprints for biometric identifiers.

Expansion of biometric systems wouldn’t be possible without the years of work on new infrastructure, and those assets will grow more as scan-capable locations increase.

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