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Biometric Traveler Screening Systems To Replace Boarding Passes in US Airports

In an effort to streamline the entire check-in and boarding process at American airports, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Services is experimenting with a biometric traveler screening system. This would involve fingerprinting, facial recognition, and/or iris scanning.

Introduced with an intention to do away with paper and mobile travel documents, the new system will check a passenger in once it scans the fingerprint and eliminate the need for boarding passes and IDs. This will make for a convenient and quicker way to navigate the travel process through airports. Currently being tested in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL), Denver International Airport (DEN), Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and JFK International Airport in New York (JFK). By 2018, CBP plans on deploying this biometric traveler screening system across all Gateway Airports in the US.

Coming on the heels of the heightened airport security implemented lately by the US government, currently this system applies only to non-citizens and visa-holders and is used to identify both outbound and incoming travelers. As for US citizens, it matches the facial scans or fingerprints to the identifying documents submitted by the traveler to the participating airline and if the match is made to the biometric data on the traveler’s passport that traveler is automatically excluded from the biometric exit program, and her or his photo is discarded soon after. If it proves to be a success, this screening system could be extended to citizens as well, in the future just so as to have a common “biometric pathway” across the board through all airport securities.

CBP is streamlining the process to include one-to-one facial matching, mobile biometrics collection, and outdoor facial and iris scanning. This solution will involve the use of a cloud-based system that provides risk assessment based how well the match happens and will facilitate stronger security screening at airports. For additional information on how this is already in place for US visa applicants, find details at Fingerprinting and Biometric Process.

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