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TSA Tests New Screening System in Houston


May 1, 2012



© Houston Airport System
Passengers make their way through the security checkpoint inside Terminal E at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon be testing a new screening system at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

It’s a system that’s designed to verify an air traveler's identity by matching photo IDs to boarding passes and ensuring that boarding passes are authentic.

The Credential Authentication Technology/Boarding Pass Scanning System (CAT/BPSS) is currently being tested at Washington's Dulles International Airport, and the pilot program will be expanded to IAH and Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico within the next few weeks.  The system will take the place of "lights and loupes" and other low-tech approaches to screening.

“The piloting of this technology is another milestone in TSA’s ongoing risk-based security initiative,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “The ability to efficiently and effectively identify fraudulent identity documents and authenticate boarding passes has the potential to not only improve security but also the checkpoint experience for passengers.”

CAT/BPSS is designed to detect fake boarding passes and falsified IDs. The scanner compares machine-readable and human-readable data from a traveler's ID with the boarding pass and verifies that neither has been altered.

The system can be used with boarding passes printed on a PC or issued by the airlines, or paperless boarding passes sent to passengers' mobile devices. Acceptable forms of ID, including passports, drivers' licenses, and permanent resident cards, carry encoded data in the form of barcodes, magnetic stripes, embedded circuits, or machine-readable text.

The system also captures and displays the traveler's photograph. After verification, the data is deleted from the CAT/BPSS system. Passengers will hand their ID's to TSA agents, who will scan them while the passengers self-scan their boarding passes.
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