Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New Technology Will Check Travel Documents

You might remember me blogging about a new piece of technology last year called the CAT/BPSS. Its real name is “Credential Authentication Technology/Boarding Pass Scanning System.” That can be a mouthful, so I simply call it the travel document scanner.

We just started testing the technology at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and will also test at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in the coming weeks. Each airport will receive 6 units total.

This technology will scan a passenger’s boarding pass and photo ID, and automatically verify the names provided on both documents and then match and authenticate the boarding pass. The technology also identifies altered or fraudulent photo IDs by analyzing and comparing security features embedded in the IDs.

What should passengers expect? Passengers will hand their ID to the TSA Travel Document Checker (TDC) who will scan it while the passenger scans their own boarding pass using a built in scanner that's part of the technology. Once the scan is complete, the technology automatically and permanently deletes the information from the system. Here's a link to the Privacy Impact Assessment for the technology.

If testing is successful, TSA could deploy the technology to airports nationwide. Our officers at airports that are not part of the operational testing will continue to verify travel documents with the aid of lights and loupes, as one of many layers of security.

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

This seems like an expensive solution to a problem that doesn't exist. As long as a person is properly screened, why does it matter if they are on the plane. The biggest terrorist in the world could be sitting next to me on the plane and I wouldn't care. What can he do if he doesn't have a weapon or bomb?

This seems like a waste of tax dollars. Technically you don't need an ID to fly. There will be additional screening, but you'll likely get on the plane.

Anonymous said...

What happens when the TDS can't scan the ID? This might happen with an ID with a worn magnetic strip or barcode, or it might be another cause such as a bug in the TDS software. Will travelers be hassled or will the TSA agent examine the ID manually and, barring any obvious problems like a counterfeit ID, give a prompt OK to the passenger to proceed?

Anonymous said...

But, Curtis, ID has nothing to do with security. Why do you continue to waste your and our time and money on this nonsense?

JoJo said...

TSA in the news this week:

Former TSA officer pleads guilty to drug charge
http://online.wsj.com/article/APd55de580f4614b608e66ff2ec3fa9eb3.html

TSA employee indicted for stealing iPads
http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2012/04/tsa-employee-indicted-for-stealings-ipads/674767/1

Former TSA officer pleads guilty to bribery
http://online.wsj.com/article/AP0e49fcc738534feabb7cbacd915875e8.html

TSA agent among 55 caught in kid porn net
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061123719&srvc=rss

TSA does more harm than good
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-tsa-letter-20120417,0,7639110.story

TSA’s latest victim—traumatized woman—captured on video sobbing
http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/04/16/tsas-latest-victim-traumatized-woman-captured-on-video-sobbing/

Anonymous said...

Bob, I have a very serious question about the need for this new technology --

What is the inherent security risk of a fake ID or boarding pass, as long as all passengers and their belongings are screened for weapons?

In other words, if passenger John Doe is going to be screened, who cares whether John Doe is really who he claims?

SSSS for Some Reason said...

This still seems like a solution looking for a problem.

First, how much is this program costing in equipment?

Second, this is better than the current system how?

Third, is this system capable of handling the huge variety of different ID types out there?

And lastly, Why? How is this any better than the person(s) already checking everyone's ID?

Well, one more lastly.... what is going to happen to the traveler who's ID can't be scanned successfully?

Well, one more... why are you stressing the fact the information is going to be permanently deleted? It really makes me wonder if your obfuscating something... possibly something important.

Anonymous said...

Wait, are you serious? The automated process involves me handing my ID to one of your agents? So this is seriously going to be someone's job? Taking an ID and scanning it? Well, I will surely miss watching your employees pretend to know what they are doing as they squint through their little eye piece.

Three more questions. How much are we the taxpayers going to be shelling out for yet another piece of technology? Have you actually tested any of these units this time around? Who is the lucky company who is going to make millions off of this.

(Something tells me we won't be seeing anything about Kip Hawley's op-ed in which even he admits that the TSA is broken.)

RB said...

Exactly how much more of a delay will this cause in the already backed up TSA lines thanks to Whole Body Imagers which only do one thing, slow down screening. Why can't TSA's highly trained screeners look at the ID/Boarding Pass and determine that they are not forgeries and finally exactly what security benefit does looking at ID's accomplish if everyone is properly screened for WEI?

Just another TSA waste of money. TSA must be trying to catch up with GSA on the money wasting games.

Anonymous said...

More $$$$ for toys that do nothing to improve security. Showing an ID that matches a boarding pass doesn't help improve safety or security.

Anonymous said...

I would much prefer if the system did not delete the information scanned, but kept it for future reference. That would enhance the security value if someone uses false documents or duplicate documents.

Liz said...

Scanning is one innovation suggested by the former administrator of the TSA, Kip Hawley in his WSJ article about how to improve the security screening process. He also says that the machines are in place to scan even large quantities of liquids and allow them on the plane. That would take longer, so he says that all that's needed is designated lines for liquids with longer expected wait times for those that want it, and that plan has already been proposed at the TSA. Can you comment on that, and possibly nudge that proposal along? This one simple suggestion would positively impact millions of travelers and make it easier for everyone. Thanks, Liz

Liz said...

Here's Kip Hawley's take on documents scanning:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303815404577335783535660546.html
http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/16/11230457-tsa-tests-automated-id-scanners-and-ex-administrator-kip-hawleys-patience?lite

Anonymous said...

New technology being introduced to an already overly complicated process. Can't imagine anything going wrong with that. Ever. Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

Anonymous said...

So how does this machine keep me from travelling on my sibling´s ID (to avoid being SSSSed - works beautifully)? It does not match the person to the ID, does it??

Anonymous said...

How about new technology that respects old (but established) technology? ... Like an INSULIN PUMP.

Anonymous said...

So, let's see....we already give our photo id to your agent who tries to look thoughtful and see if the face staring at him is the same one on the id. Then you give the agent (they are NOT 'officers') your boarding pass, which has already been verified by the airline, via it's own scanning system.

So, Blogging Team, what actually is different, except that Chertoff gets more money, and that your scanners will probably fail alot more than the airlines scanners?

And please do answer the question, and not avoid it, like you do so,so, so, many times.

Anonymous said...

Yet how many times does it need to be said. Checking IDs is a waste of time and has been proven again and again and again that even IDs on this website the average TSA employee cant identify, or beause there lazy will claim the website is wrong.

So what your saying is another expensive piece of junk because your staff cant do their job... More waste from TSA. I wonder which current or former TSA person who lobbied or was paid to promote this "device"

Dont need more stupid machines that slow the process down even more. Those that cant do their job should be terminated not retrained or counseled.

100K for something that the average bar spends <$600 on for checking IDs.


Screen capture for OIG due to long history of censorship by this blog

Anonymous said...

This is just another means of mining for law violations. What's next? Bus stations? Train stations? State lines? It won't be long before one cannot travel anywhere without producing an ID. Let's hear it for The Patriot Act. Weither one likes it or not, we are headed for a totalarian society. The terrorists have indeed won.

Anonymous said...

TSA is already out of control, and now we're being told it's about to get worse. Really guys, there is no problem with travel docs that require scanning. This is a "solution looking for a problem" that doesn't exist. Quit wasting our time and taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

Just stop. Stop the shoe dance, stop the war on liquids, stop with the no-fly list nonsense. Checking ID's is nonsensical.

Focus on guns and bombs. Don't worry about knives, the passengers will take care of that. Secure the baggage handling areas and stop theft from checked baggage.

Improve the detection rates for guns and bombs and you'll have something to crow about. Is it still a 70% failure rate?

Anonymous said...

if you read what kip said then you know it congress stopping it. call your congress person!!!!!!!!!

JoJo said...

Why was my list of links of TSA in the news this week not published? What guidelines did it break? With this overt government censorship, is TSA trying to see how many rights it can quell in a single agency?

Anonymous said...

If you still have to hand your ID to a person why do you need a machine? Get rid of the person or get rid of the machine. Having both is a huge waste of money.

And I don't believe your privacy policy. Sooner or later all that data will be stored and mined.

Anonymous said...

So the equipment will immediately delete any record of the ID and boarding pass? Seriously? How does that improve security?

Lets say that person X comes thru the checkpoint and the ID clears. Then its deleted. Then 30 minutes later an alert is sent out that person X was traveling under an alias and is wanted for some reason. How will your system help find the guy?

What a waste of money.

Megan said...

If the scanning still requires an agent, what exactly are we saving in the process? The agent is still the fail-safe in the process, and will hand-check those IDs that the machine has a problem with...and as anyone who has used any piece of technology ever knows, sometimes things go wrong.

So if we agree that we still need an agent there, we are now still paying for an agent to man the ID post in ADDITION to footing the bill for the new technology (and I would really like to see how much this will be costing per machine).

I find it difficult to believe that potentially shaving a few seconds off of the check-in process is worth the additional cost. And as anyone who has flown can tell you, the check-in process isn't what takes a long time; more often than not, I've been standing waiting in front of a free ID check-in agent, unable to move ahead in the process because the bag-screening line is too long.

Let's focus on making that part of the process as efficient as possible first before we spend redundant money on non-issues.

Anonymous said...

What about money clips, Bob? You are not reporting how many money clips TSA is illegally taking from those 95-years-old military retiree that fly our airlines...just like those 95-years-old terrorist from 9/11....

Anonymous said...

How does checking ID's help security? Why, exactly does "Identity Matter" (to quote your 'justification' for ID checks)? Isn't everyone screened, regardless of what, or if, ID is shown?

This is just a waste of money, a 'solution' looking for a problem that is nonexistent.

Anonymous said...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303815404577335783535660546.html

So, Kip Hawley thinks your barking up the wrong tree. How will technology make things better?

Jack said...

It isn't about keeping travelers safe, it is about revenue protection for the airlines.

The airlines sell you (generally) a non-transferable ticket. TSA is helping them prevent you from giving your ticket to someone else.

If that's not the case, then maybe someone could potentially have a dangerous name or something, I guesss... since they were obviously screened properly.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting but I think the TSA needs to be more innovative when it comes to smartphones. A google account tied to an android phone, and an apple account are both verified, legitimate identities. These are virtual initiations of a real identity. Save trees, save time, save manpower.

JoJo said...

I am going to try again. I offer no opinions. I am saying nothing derogatory. I am simply posting a collection of headlines with links to their respective articles that anyone can find on google news. As such, there is absolutely no reason not to publish this comment.

TSA in the news this week:

Former TSA officer pleads guilty to drug charge http://online.wsj.com/article/APd55de580f4614b608e66ff2ec3fa9eb3.html

TSA employee indicted for stealing iPads http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2012/04/tsa-employee-indicted-for-stealings-ipads/674767/1

Former TSA officer pleads guilty to bribery http://online.wsj.com/article/AP0e49fcc738534feabb7cbacd915875e8.html

TSA agent among 55 caught in kid porn net http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061123719&srvc=rss

TSA does more harm than good http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-tsa-letter-20120417,0,7639110.story

TSA’s latest victim—traumatized woman—captured on video sobbing http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2012/04/16/tsas-latest-victim-traumatized-woman-captured-on-video-sobbing/

Former TSA officer admits role in painkiller trafficking ring, faces up to 20 ...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/former-tsa-officer-admits-role-in-painkiller-trafficking-ring-faces-up-to-20-years-in-prison/2012/04/17/gIQAtW0nOT_story.html

Seniors get the TSA runaround, lose $300
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120418/OPINION03/204180345/1409/METRO/Seniors-get-TSA-runaround-lose-300

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What about money clips, Bob? You are not reporting how many money clips TSA is illegally taking from those 95-years-old military retiree that fly our airlines...just like those 95-years-old terrorist from 9/11....

April 18, 2012 2:45 PM
----------------
the only money clips TSA is interested in are the ones that have knife blades built in. We see many of those. They are prohibited.

Anonymous said...

Gotta follow the money! Who is behind these machines? I would bet that someone with some present or past ties to the TSA is going to benefit from these new and useless devices.

Anonymous said...

Even is the documents are genuine and check out good, the person at the check point still has to determine if the person standing in front of them is the person in the documents.

The human being is still the weak link. Any system that depends on humans being perfect will fail.

RB said...

I see the Delete-O-Meter numbers have been updated.

Seems TSA is up to illegally censoring 35% of all comments submitted to the TSA Blog. 35% is no small number, and I wonder just what it is TSA is trying to hide?

Anonymous said...

Do you want to comment on this one?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-belkin/airport-security-pat-downs_b_1432606.html

That's pretty bad that the TSA felt the need to do this to a 12 year old just because he wears an insulin pump. As a fellow pump user, I am appalled by this.

My pump never sets off the metal detector. However, my pump manufacturer told me not to go through the body scanners. It also cannot go through the baggage x-ray. I have to opt out of the scanners, which is happens more and more due to the scanners being used as the primary scanning method.

It's bad enough that as someone in his 30's has to go through the enhanced patdown with genital contact. Doing the same thing to a kid is so much worse, just for wearing an insulin pump.

screen shot taken

Anonymous said...

You'd expect a TSA blog to address news items involving the TSA. Only occasionally does this happen--often the news items are only mentioned in the comments.

Strange -- what else is a TSA blog for?

Oh, right, to brag about capturing harmless items that violate their policies.

Liz James said...

I believe this is just another scanner. We should be knowing the new product in the market. Do you want to render that person checking IDs jobless? What has ID to do with security?

JoJo said...

TSA. I have tried twice to post a comment with links to news stories about TSA and twice I have been censored. I offer no opinions. I am saying nothing derogatory. I am simply posting a collection of headlines with links to their respective articles that anyone can find on google news. I see others posting links to other news articles. Why am I censored while they are not? What terms of commenting am I breaking? How is this governmen censorship Constitutional? I wish some other commenters here could contact me privately some way about this but you would never let me publish my contact information. I am at a loss for what to do, but I get the feeling that's exactly what you're hoping for.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303815404577335783535660546.html

So, Kip Hawley thinks your barking up the wrong tree. How will technology make things better?

April 18, 2012 3:21 PM
--------------
The Kipper is trying to peddle a book - nuff said.

Anonymous said...

"The Kipper is trying to peddle a book - nuff said."

And you're trying to justify your civil service job. Nuff said.

Wintermute said...

Why was my completely on-topic comment censored?!

Wintermute said...

Why are on-topic posts being censored?

And, off-topic, any comments on this?

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120418/OPINION03/204180345

Anonymous said...

Travel document checker - this is disgusting. In a free country, we employ people to check our travel documents?

Anonymous said...

If you hate TSA so much, try picturing airports without TSA. Illegal stuff would go through. 9/11 could happen once again. Let's take a second a reflect on how important their job is. IT IS IMPORTANT AND I APPLAUD THE JOB TSA IS DOING FOR OUR COUNTRY!

Wintermute said...

"If you hate TSA so much, try picturing airports without TSA. Illegal stuff would go through. 9/11 could happen once again. Let's take a second a reflect on how important their job is. IT IS IMPORTANT AND I APPLAUD THE JOB TSA IS DOING FOR OUR COUNTRY!"

No, 9/11 would not happen again. Had the hardened cockpit doors been in place, 9/11 would not have happened in the first place. And since 9/11, passenger awareness has assured the failure of both the shoe and underwear bombers. Remember, they BOTH made it past the TSA.

As for your screaming (you do realize that all caps is screaming, right?), you're applauding the TSA for turning this country into the Totalitarian States of America?

Anonymous said...

Why do you need to authenticate a boarding pass that I get AT THE AIRPORT? Are you saying the airlines gives out bogus boarding passes?

More security theatre with all passengers guilty until proven innocent.

Too bad TSA employees are not put through the same scrutiny before being hired.

I'm sick of this crap!

chancers said...

"...Anonymous said...
If you hate TSA so much, try picturing airports without TSA. Illegal stuff would go through. 9/11 could happen once again. Let's take a second a reflect on how important their job is. IT IS IMPORTANT AND I APPLAUD THE JOB TSA IS DOING FOR OUR COUNTRY..."

I have flown since I was a child. I have never felt LESS safe and MORE victimized since the TSA has come into play.

BTW, you must not go grocery shopping, to the mall, walk the streets, go to work, etc. See, terrorists can pop up at any of those places, and since the TSA isn't there, I'm assuming you don't feel safe enough to venture out into these places.

chris said...

One time I made it all the way through security with someone else boarding pass. The check out person accidentally switched tickets and I got someone else's ticket. I did not figure it out till I got to the gate. Im assuming this new system will help with this? Cuz my bags ended up going to the wrong airport...

cheap promise rings for girlfriend said...

I have a very serious question about the need for this new technology --

What is the inherent security risk of a fake ID or boarding pass, as long as all passengers and their belongings are screened for weapons?

In other words, if passenger John Doe is going to be screened, who cares whether John Doe is really who he claims?

Jana Hus said...

Good subject.I think micro chipping for people is coming our way. it will be a lot easier to travel, go to the hospital, buy groceries... In a future, I can see the use of scan for most of our activities, travel included. having a card is not always practical, but a micro chip with all the information is great.

Eric Peterson said...

New technology is great but it needs good people to run it. They need to make sure they are hiring good employees.
-Eric

brad said...

you guys are doing great work for the american air travelers. thank you. you guys put up with a lot and some people don't seem to understand it's for their own safety. such a shame. For a living, I do 3D Rendering which is very niche and local. What you guys do is broad and national, and I admire that. Thank you.

Sedona said...

But are we really safe even in the midst of such technology?

Christina said...

I like the fact that this technology identifies altered or fraudulent photo IDs. It makes me feel safer to travel that there is the precaution especially during the holiday season.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent blog. I got many unknown information from this post.

Noel said...

Curtis, just give me an honest answer. Do all the gadgets and technologies really make us safe?

Anonymous said...

TSA is already out of control, and now we're being told it's about to get worse. Really guys, there is no problem with travel docs that require scanning. This is a "solution looking for a problem" that doesn't exist. Quit wasting our time and taxpayer money.

Bloggers Tips

Daniesh Alfie said...

..we already give our photo id to your agent who tries to look thoughtful and see if the face staring at him is the same one on the id. Then you give the agent (they are NOT 'officers') your boarding pass, which has already been verified by the airline, via it's own scanning system.

Reddulr said...

Thank you