Keep your eyes on the flyer

GCN Insider | Products and trends that affect the way government uses technology

The Numerator: Electronic Records

Ninety-two percent of all documents available through the Government Printing Office are in electronic form, according to Mike Wash, GPO's chief technical officer.

COLOR OF MONEY: Hewlett-Packard's new CM8000 printers feature a fixed array of print heads and charge only for the amount of color ink used.

If you thought airport security was tight now, you could be in for a surprise in the not-too-distant future. Not content with scanning, carding and patting you down at its checkpoints, the Transportation Security Administration wants to develop a system to follow you from the time you book your flight on Orbitz right on into the Starbucks at the airport, keeping an eye on you and your luggage while you have your pre-flight latte.

TSA issued a request for information in February on technology that would integrate credential verification, identity management and personal tracking into a single system. This suite would be part of a larger enterprise architecture that would include sensors and threat-detection systems.

The agency's goal is nothing less than 'the ability to continuously ensure positive identification of every passenger as they traverse the aviation system, from the time a reservation is made to the time they exit an airport at their destination.' That's a pretty tall order, but it gets even more ambitious: 'In addition, checked and carry-on baggage must be continuously associated with those passengers and tracked as it moves through the various stages of the travel process.'

Airlines have tried for decades, with only limited success, to find a way to track luggage and get it to the right passenger at the right airport. If TSA is successful in fielding such a system, maybe they will give frustrated passengers access to it when they land in Chicago and their luggage goes to Phoenix.

The RFI emphasized that the request was for market research only and that it has no firm plans for a solicitation at this time. Responses were due by April 18, and TSA could hold follow-up meetings with respondents if more information is needed.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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