30 June 2007

Insane TSA proposal for Biometrics run by the airlines

Those wonderful mad cap keystone cops (aka the Dept of Homeland Security) are at it again. This time they are demanding that the Airlines install and manage the biometrics System.

This one will definitely run for a while. Given the current fiasco over passports – the TSA/DHS boffins have no clue about people processing. I think this stems from the last time they had to seriously think about it IE Ellis Island.

A brief aside here. I go through Security on average 2x a week. I can assure you the TSA is behind almost any other service in the world.

So considering all things that the airline have to deal with today for security – it is understandable why the TSA would like to shift the responsibility of the biometric tracking to the airlines for handling. But the TSA wants its cake and eat it. They wont share the results nor will they provide an instant alert scheme for the airlines.

Here is the full article. You be the judge – but one thing is for sure – this issue will not be going away.

Despite protests, DHS biometric data plan moving forward (06/07/2007)
VANCOUVER -- The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security is sticking to its proposal to require airlines to collect fingerprints at check-in from departing travelers on international flights, in spite of vehement protests from U.S. carriers that the mandate would be costly and time-consuming and create longer check-in lines, and should instead be handled by the Transportation Security Administration.

Michael Jackson, the DHS' deputy secretary, attending the International Air Transport Association's Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit here June 5, said the department still plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the requirement soon.

"It's the only model that we can figure out that will work," he said, while insisting it would not create long check-in lines.

"People's dwell time at a check-in point is vastly longer than the one or two seconds it will take to simply put your finger on a fingerprint reader," he said. "I think it's going to be easy, iteratively, over time, to integrate this into the business model that the aviation industry has for doing its work, which is to make it easy for passengers to come through an airport and not have a burdensome delay."

Jackson, who wants the process in place by 2008, did make one concession: he said the DHS is willing to provide airlines with fingerprint readers for use at the check-in counters, and help them connect it to their passport card readers. He also said the department is willing to let airlines move the process to self-service check-in kiosks equipped with fingerprint readers and passport readers.

The proposed requirement stems from a DHS effort to beef up a 3-year-old pilot program called US-VISIT, which collects biometric data from foreign visitors.

Under that program, inbound visitors at U.S. airports and other points of entry are digitally photographed and fingerprinted at special kiosks. The resulting data are later matched against DHS' own database to verify international travelers' identity. Digital fingerprints are also collected when the traveler exits the U.S.

However, travelers are asked to provide the data on a volunteer basis.

Consequently, the DHS said, while the US-VISIT biometric technology "works," there has been a "low traveler-compliance" rate. It believes integrating the process into check-in would boost the rate.

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