Gear and Tech
TSA PreCheck Passengers Can Look Forward To Face Screening Technology
By Sharelle Burt
Technology is at it again.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) unveiled plans to use biometric technology in national airports, a plan that includes the general public. In addition to using fingerprints, TSA will start having TSA PreCheck members submit facial images, so they can build up a usable database for implementing the advanced screening technology in TSA PreCheck security lanes.
Passengers enrolling in the program or renewing their membership are now required to provide a photograph. Once there are enough images in the database, TSA will start using applicants’ photographs to test facial biometric technology in TSA PreCheck lanes at select airports. The agency has already begun the biometric screening testing for TSA PreCheck travelers on both domestic and international flights.
Fingerprint technology was used on PreCheck members at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and at Denver International Airport in June 2017. Facial recognition was used on international flights, collaborating with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last year at John F. Kennedy International Airport and hoped of expanding testing to LAX in August. This technology will make the photos available to databases to verify travelers’ identity and reduce the requirement of paperwork.
If that’s not cool enough, check this out. Delta Airlines is in line to have the first biometric terminal in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. The terminal will give Delta customers flying direct from the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal (or Terminal F) in Atlanta to an international destination the option of using facial recognition technology to check in at self-service kiosks, check their bags, use as identification in the TSA security line, and board their flight at any gate.
It’s not clear as to when all this technology will make an appearance as TSA has several hurdles to jump over first, with privacy issues and costs being two of the biggest. “Many if not most [non-TSA PreCheck domestic] travelers do not have biometric data on file with the U.S. federal government (e.g., a passport photo), posing a unique challenge for TSA and its strategic security partners,” TSA said in a newly released Biometrics Roadmap.
With that in mind, they aren’t giving up on the idea. TSA is encouraged that their plan will be pushed through just by the fact that travelers today are already using fingerprint and facial recognition with their mobile devices.