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TSA testing automated identity recognition at Indianapolis airport

TSA pilot program.jpg
Posted at 11:26 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 23:26:34-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Transportation Security Administration is testing equipment designed to automate the identity verification process in a pilot program at Indianapolis International Airport.

The technology matches a traveler's live photo against the photo on their government-issued identification. The current process is conducted manually by a TSA officer.

The project used a credential authentication technology unit that has been modified to include a camera, the TSA said. When a traveler approaches the unit at the security checkpoint, they insert their photo ID into the scanner. The CAT unit compares facial features on the just-captured photo against the facial features on the ID.

The process eliminates the need to hand over photo identification or boarding pass to a TSA officer, reducing potential cross-contamination and also promoting social distancing in the security checkpoint. It also adds another layer of security since the unit has the ability to flag fraudulent IDs or those that have been tampered with.

"This technology provides a safer checkpoint experience while maintaining the same high level of security," Indiana TSA Federal Security Director Aaron Batt said. "We've seen a positive response from TSA PreCheck passengers, who appreciate being able to move through the security process quickly and with minimal direct contact with TSA officers."

The technology can authenticate thousands of types of IDs including U.S. driver licenses and photo ID cards, U.S. passports, lawful permanent resident cards or visas, U.S. Department of Defense's Common Access Card program, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards.