Wednesday, June 14, 2017
TSA tests using fingerprints as boarding passes at Denver International Airport
TSA testing out biometric technology at DIA, Atlanta starting Wednesday
By Danika Worthington
The Denver (CO) Post
Why bother with a boarding pass when you’ve got your fingerprint?
Starting Wednesday, the Transportation Security Administration will test new biometric technology that substitutes fingerprints for boarding passes and IDs at Denver International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
The technology, which is being tested among travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck, matches passengers’ identities to fingerprints already on file when people applied to the fast-pass lane program. PreCheck travelers are able to pass through security with shoes and belts on, and liquids and laptops still in their carry-on bags.
The technology could someday automate the check-in process, TSA said. The technology obtains a passenger’s flight information through Secure Flight, TSA’s prescreening program that identifies low- and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport. Secure Flight collects a traveler’s name, date of birth and gender and checks the information against the no-fly list and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s do-not-board list.
Airlines have already begun to shift toward using biometrics. DIA already has CLEAR, a private company that does fingerprint and photo biometrics for security in select airports, according to Ping Identity founder Andre Durand. Ping specializes in identity security.
Earlier this month, Delta announced a pilot program to let some passengers use fingerprints as plane tickets out of Reagan National Airport in Washington. That same day, JetBlue announced a program at Logan International Airport in Boston and Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba that match customers’ faces with the U.S. Custom and Border Protections’ passport database.
But there are potential concerns about using biometric data for identification.
Jeramie Scott, national security counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told The Washington Post that neither Delta nor JetBlue have said how the government may use the information. Additionally, no laws prevent the government from using these types of programs as part of larger surveillance.
Participation in TSA’s test at DIA is voluntary. People who opt-in still will go through the standard security screening. PreCheck passengers who haven’t provided fingerprints to TSA are also invited to test the system as it will provide valuable information during the proof of concept, the agency said.
TSA spokeswoman Carrie Harmon said Denver and Atlanta were selected for the pilot for a number of reasons, including the ability to test the technology without disrupting operations.
DIA’s PreCheck enrollment center has the highest volume of requests in the United States. A traveling TSA PreCheck RV that served as a mobile application center extended its stay in the metro area twice after seeing high demands.