Massport tests wireless security checks at Boston airport

Massport tests wireless security checks at Boston airport

The Massachusetts Port Authority is letting some state police officers stationed at Boston's Logan International Airport query criminal databases through wireless handheld PCs.

Over the past two months, state troopers have been testing the use of 10 BlackBerry devices from Research in Motion Ltd. of Waterloo, Ontario, equipped with the PocketBlue application from Aether Systems Inc. of Owings Mills, Md., said Massport spokeswoman Barbara Platt.

PocketBlue taps into the FBI's National Crime Information Center to search for outstanding warrants on suspects or to check license plate numbers, Platt said. The application keeps track of recent queries, so troopers don't have to run multiple checks on people.

Before the pilot, officers patrolling Logan's five terminals had to call in queries to a dispatcher via radio, Platt said. Two of the four jetliners that were hijacked last Sept. 11 took off from Logan, the largest airport in New England.

Aether Systems approached Massport about the trial for handhelds, which is being conducted at no cost to the port authority, Platt said.

The pilot project is expected to last one or two more months, Platt said. Although Massport officials haven't decided whether to continue using PocketBlue, user feedback so far has been positive, she said.

Law enforcement officials in the Washington area also have been testing the PocketBlue system [www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/17283-1.html].

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