TSA tests biometrics for pilots

Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport is using a biometrics-based access-control program as part of a project to improve aviation security.

The program, called SecureScreen, is a joint effort by the Transportation Security Administration, Southwest Airlines, the Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association, the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations, Priva Technologies and the Maryland Aviation Administration.

More than 200 BWI-based Southwest Airlines pilots will participate in the project and have their fingerprints, photographs and other security information stored on Priva's ClearedKey devices. A reader at a TSA security checkpoint will verify pilots' identities against the devices' biometric data.

At the end of the project's 60-day demonstration period, TSA officials will decide whether to deploy the technology elsewhere and how or if it will be used for other airport employees, Priva officials said, adding that the technology could be used for TSA's Registered Traveler program.

SecureScreen seeks to comply with congressional mandates in the Implementing the Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, which requires TSA to enhance security by properly identifying authorized airline flight deck and cabin crew members at screening checkpoints, granting them expedited access through those checkpoints and integrating biometric identifiers into access-control systems.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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