TSA will test registered traveler pilot

TSA will test registered traveler pilot

The Transportation Security Administration today announced a registered traveler pilot to begin at selected airports in June.

During the 90-day pilot, a TSA contractor will ask frequent travelers to volunteer for the program. TSA will gather biometric and other information about the volunteers and conduct security assessments, the agency said.

TSA will let registered travelers pass through security screening more quickly than other travelers. 'All volunteers will still undergo basic screening procedures,' TSA said.

Proposals for a trusted traveler program have attracted support in Congress, which authorized a registered traveler program in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001. The General Accounting Office has studied the matter and issued a report that identifies touchy issues surrounding such program.

Privacy advocates generally have been wary of the consequences of a registered traveler program.

'Will these cards be demanded everywhere you go?' said Ari Schwartz, associate director for the Center for Democracy and Technology. Any such program will have to meet a high standard for protecting participants' privacy, he said.

'I think I would say that the trusted traveler cards are going to be aimed at certain types of people. Wealthy businessmen are going to be at the top of list, while others will have to wait in line,' Schwartz said. 'It creates class issues and caste issues. The civil-rights groups should take a real interest in this.'

In announcing the plan, TSA said it would hire a contractor to manage the program, provide biometric identification, run tactical operations and carry out systems integration. The agency did not specify which airports had been chosen for the pilot.

The agency said more details about the procurement would be made available in a solicitation to be posted online at the FedBizOpps procurement site. At the time of this posting, TSA had not uploaded the request for proposals.

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