Thursday, September 17, 2015

Getting to the Gate Faster?

It was announced in March that the New York-based biometric engineering company CLEAR will be integrating the ability to identify travellers through their fingerprints at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport by April. This service will be done for certain members that have been enrolled through the airport. This is the first of its kind to be done within the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan region. The main problem that this would solve is in the alleviation of congestion in the security lines but only on a minor scale. When TSA introduced TSA-pre, this did that to a certain extent. TSA-pre is very selective of the travelers it chooses by printing in quite small print ‘TSA-PRE”. With the ability to have fingerprints integrated into the process would leave out the guesswork of whether the person on the ID is the same one standing in front of the agent.
This would also be an increase in the security level. The Department of Homeland Security has certified the technology as "Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology" justifying the use as security option. With a person’s fingerprint, all data of the person can be associated with that print.  The key with fingerprints is that no two are alike. It is nearly impossible for anyone to create a fingerprint. This can also take away the need for Photo-Ids in terms of justifying whether it came from the MVA or DMV or whether the Passport is valid. The security level could be increased but not by much.
The final positive aspect that could come out of the use of fingerprints at airport security is the call for more upgraded technology within the travel industry. The integration of biometrics in airport security could be the first step on the way to retina scanners and a much more expansive change to the traditional x-ray scanner.  This could be the opening of the floodgates to increase technology. The integration should also be used at the gate, as it would take away the need for the traditional style of boarding pass or the use of the barcode. We could be the boarding pass.

Some downsides that could spire from the use of this is in fact the face to face application that the TSA has always taken. There could also be the issue with the scanners. Some could be made cheaply or some may have an interface that is easily hack-able allowing the hackers to scramble the fingerprints or even finding the ability to upload their own fingerprints into the system. There is also the age-old spy movie trick of copying the fingerprint or using something that transfers the fingerprint, giving it the appearance and texture of an actual finger. The integration of this technology into airport security is a great improvement from the TSA regulated face-to-face-to-id as it is already devoted to but this could be the way of changing how we travel. This could lead to light and paperless travel if time tells.

Source: Rector, Kevin. "Biometrics Company to Offer Fingerprint, Iris Scans as Security Clearance Option at BWI." N.p., 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

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