TSA at Norfolk Airport gets new credential authentication technology to improve checkpoint screening capabilities


New technology that confirms the validity of a traveller’s identification and their flight information in real time is now in use at the TSA security checkpoints at Virginia’s Norfolk International Airport.

New technology that confirms both the validity of a traveller’s identification and their flight information in real time is now in use at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoints at Virginia’s Norfolk International Airport.

This deployment is the latest generation of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) to verify the identity of travellers. First generation CAT units are designed to scan a traveller’s photo identification and confirm their identity, as well as their flight details. The new CAT units, referred to as CAT-2, have the same capabilities, but are also equipped with a camera that captures a real-time photo of the traveller.

CAT-2 compares the traveller’s photo on the ID against the in-person, real-time photo. Once the CAT-2 confirms the match, a TSA officer verifies and the traveller can proceed through the checkpoint, without ever exchanging a boarding pass.

“Identity verification of every traveller prior to flying is a key step in the security screening process,” said Robin ‘Chuck’ Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “This technology enhances detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent IDs such as driver’s licenses and passports at a checkpoint and it increases efficiency by automatically verifying a passenger’s identification. We just want to ensure that you are who you say you are.”

As an additional feature, the unit is touchless meaning that the passengers insert their ID and do not have to hand it to a TSA officer. Travellers insert their ID, look at the camera and if the ID is validated, the traveller then proceeds into the checkpoint.

“This latest technology helps ensure that we know who is boarding flights,” explained Jeffrey Horowitz, TSA’s Assistant Federal Security Director at the airport. “Credential authentication plays an important role in passenger identity verification. It improves a TSA officer’s ability to validate a traveller’s photo identification while also identifying any inconsistencies associated with fraudulent travel documents.”

Photos captured by CAT-2 units are never stored or used for any other purpose than immediate identity verification. Travellers who do not wish to participate in the facial matching process can opt out in favour of an alternative identity verification process.

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