While some passengers may worry about privacy, this is a good development. The current system, in which an officer must compare a picture on an ID with a traveler, is not the most reliable. Humans make mistakes. This is a better approach.
Airline passengers may soon be able to put away their IDs and boarding passes at screening lines as the Transportation Security Administration begins an experiment to use fingerprints to ensure people’s identities.
Passengers who are enrolled in PreCheck, the TSA program that gives travelers expedited screening, will be able to use their fingerprints at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International and Denver International to verify their identity and to pull up their boarding pass information, the agency announced Tuesday.
The TSA becomes the latest security agency or business to begin using automated biometric information to verify people’s identities. JetBlue Airways Corp., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Air France’s KLM are experimenting with fingerprint and facial-recognition technology to speed the check-in process. Alclear LLC’s Clear, a subscription service that allows faster access to airport screening and sporting events, also uses fingerprints.
Delta announced Tuesday that is also working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Atlanta and New York’s Kennedy International to test a new biometric procedure for people leaving the country. Passengers can use facial recognition portals to verify their identity and scan their boarding passes, Delta said in a release.
“Through these and other technology demonstrations, we are looking to reinvent and enhance security effectiveness to meet the evolving threat and ensure that passengers get to their destinations safely,” TSA Acting Assistant Administrator Steve Karoly said in a release.
Most people enrolled in PreCheck have already provided the government with fingerprints in order to pass a background check. Once the system matches their prints, it will not only verify their identity but also link automatically to their boarding passes, according to TSA.
Providing a fingerprint before going through security is voluntary, the agency said. At least initially, passengers will also be subject to the “standard ticket document checking process,” according to TSA.
In the longer term, the technology may allow passengers to automate the document-checking process, which can save time for the traveler and reduce the need for TSA staff.
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Photo credit: The TSA will test using fingerprints to identify customers in its Precheck program. Bloomberg