Saturday, April 20, 2024

TSA at Norfolk Airport Gets New Credential Authentication Technology

A traveler removes his mask to enable the tablet to capture his photo to immediately verify that his face matches the face on his ID. (TSA photo)

NORFOLK —  TSA at Norfolk International Airport now has new technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification and flight information in real-time, the Transportation Security Administration announced.

The equipment is the latest generation of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT), TSA said. First-generation CAT units scan a traveler’s photo identification and confirm the traveler’s identity as well as their flight details. The new units, referred to as CAT-2, have the same capabilities, but are also equipped with a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveler.

CAT-2 compares the traveler’s photo on the ID — such as a driver’s license or passport — against the in-person, real-time photo. Once a match is confirmed, a TSA officer verifies and the traveler can proceed through the checkpoint, without ever exchanging a boarding pass, TSA said. The photos are not saved and are only used for the verification process.

“Identity verification of every traveler prior to flying is a key step in the security screening process,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “This technology enhances detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent IDs such as driver’s licenses and passports at a checkpoint and it increases efficiency by automatically verifying a passenger’s identification. We just want to ensure that you are who you say you are.”

Additionally, TSA noted the unit is touchless — passengers insert their ID and do not have to hand it to a TSA officer. This reduces touchpoints and speeds up the process. Travelers still need to check-in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate to show the airline representative before boarding their flight, TSA said.

This screen indicates that this individual’s driver’s license is not valid. (TSA photo)

“This latest technology helps ensure that we know who is boarding flights,” explained Jeffrey Horowitz, TSA’s Assistant Federal Security Director at the airport. “Credential authentication plays an important role in passenger identity verification. It improves a TSA officer’s ability to validate a traveler’s photo identification while also identifying any inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.”

The system also confirms the passenger’s flight status by verifying that the individual is ticketed to fly out of an airport on that same day, TSA said.

The agency noted the units have a “library” of IDs programmed into them allowing authentication of more than 2,500 different types of IDs including passports, military common access cards, Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards, uniformed services ID cards, permanent resident cards, U.S. visas and driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments.

Travelers who do not wish to participate in the facial matching process can opt out in favor of an alternative identity verification process, TSA said.

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