“TSA looks at technologies and intelligence capabilities that allow us to analyze and secure the travel environment, passengers and their property,” said TSA Acting Assistant Administrator Steve Karoly in a press release. “Through these and other technology demonstrations, we are looking to reinvent and enhance security effectiveness to meet the evolving threat and ensure that passengers get to their destinations safely.”
Facial scanning has also been floated as a reasonable means of making travel more orderly and efficient: Delta Air Lines -- which has also introduced a fingerprint scanning process -- introduced its own facial scanning program for bag drops to be tested this summer at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, reports the Washington Post.
A hint of paranoia might be warranted when granting one’s fingerprint to TSA -- which is, after all, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. Jeramie Scott, national security counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told WaPo that facial scanning in particular could be problematic if used as a mass-surveillance tool. Customs and Border Patrol has introduced plans to incorporate mandatory facial screening for people leaving and entering US soil, ushering forth what some officials are calling a worldwide “Biometric Pathway.”
TSA hasn’t specified how long the proof-of-concept program will last, but the data will be used to determine whether or not fingerprints can potentially replace boarding passes nationwide.