Identity verification is an essential element of its risk-based approach to transportation security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) strives to enhance security effectiveness and improve operational efficiency, while creating an enhanced traveler experience and strengthening privacy.

TSA introduced facial recognition technology into the screening process at select airports. The facial recognition technology represents a significant security enhancement and improves traveler convenience. A traveler may voluntarily agree to use their face to verify their identity during the screening process by presenting their physical identification or passport. The facial recognition technology TSA uses helps ensure the person standing at the checkpoint is the same person pictured on the identification document (ID) credential. Photos are not stored or saved after a positive ID match has been made, except in a limited testing environment for evaluation of the effectiveness of the technology.

The agency is using second-generation Credential Authentication Technology (CAT-2) scanners as travelers enter the screening process. This technology assists Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) in verifying the authenticity of a traveler’s ID credential, as well as their flight status and vetting status. TSOs must direct all passengers to the proper lane, either TSA PreCheck® screening, standard screening, or enhanced screening. The CAT-2 units are currently deployed at nearly 30 airports nationwide, and will expand to the more than 400 federalized airports over the coming years.

TSA is also using CAT-2 units to conduct an operational assessment of digital IDs, including mobile driver’s licenses. All digital IDs eligible for use at select TSA checkpoints follow the current, international open standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization and provide enhanced security and privacy by design.

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